Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Own Inspiration

Last year when I was prepping for the Maryland show, I spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest, looking up recipes and drooling over pictures of food. I realized it was not a healthy thing to be doing, but I couldn't seem to stop. Because of that, I've avoided it for the past several months. Just recently, I was looking for an image, and thought I'd see if I could find any on Pinterest.

Two hours later, I resurfaced.

Ok, so it wasn't two hours later, but it was definitely a longer time than I'd realized. I started reading through all the images I have posted on my Motivation board (read about the difference between motivation and inspiration) when I realized that I could make my OWN inspirational images!

I am my own inspiration!

With the help of my new favorite app, InstaCollage, I've created a few "Fitspiration" images of my own!






Not only do these images keep me motivated to keep pushing myself, they're also a fun way to pass the time while I'm doing cardio! Win-win!

If you have some photos of yourself, have some fun creating inspirational images too! YOU are your OWN inspiration!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Pittsburgh Championships - 11 Days Out!

I can't believe how fast time seems to be flying! As of today, I'm only 11 days out of the Pittsburgh Championships. This past Friday, I made a short video, talking about how I feel and the significance of the Pittsburgh show for J and me. (Hint: Read this and this.)

Apparently, I have too many videos and pictures stored on my phone, so the video abruptly ends, as my phone told me that I'd run out of space.

 

It's now been a few more days since we filmed the video. J determined that I was looking overly depleted, so I got to have a Treat Meal on Saturday night! What a wonderful unexpected surprise! On Sunday morning, I looked dryer, harder, and leaner. Mission accomplished!

I'm feeling positive and excited about the show. I sent in my registrations on Friday, so everything is official now. Only 11 more days and counting!

Do you have any questions for me? If so, write them in the comments below - I'm more than happy to answer them!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stronger

Ever since I gave myself an Attitude Adjustment and The People's Elbow the other day, I've been feeling a lot better! I've started focusing less on "I feel like crap" and more on "I can do this!"

Yesterday, when I walked into the gym, my friend Jenny asked me how I was doing. I was in the process of responding with my usual, "Meh, hangin' in there" when one of the trainers shouted to me, "GREAT! You're GREAT!" I changed my response to, "I'm GREAT!" and then repeated it to myself in my head, "I'm great!" I continued repeating it to myself throughout my workout, and wouldn't ya know - I had a GREAT workout!

It wasn't that I wasn't tired or sluggish, the difference was simply in my mind. By forcing myself to focus on the things that WERE great, in turn, I felt better. It's all about the power of positive thinking!
At the beginning of this week, J made a few changes to my diet and training program. I have to admit I was starting to stress about them a bit. I was worried I wouldn't have the energy to push as hard as I need to. I was worried I would feel hungry or miss certain foods that had been pulled from my diet.

All my worrying was a waste of energy.

The changes he made to my prep are not something negative; they're positive changes that will help me reach my goal of looking my best on stage. Every little change we make in the next 2.5 weeks will positively impact my showing on stage. It's empowering to know that I am in control of how I'll look. By following his plan, I have the power to bring my very best to the stage.

I feel re-energized, re-focused, and determined to take advantage of the time I have in these next 2.5 weeks! I'm going to turn my dreams into my reality.

Believe
I've written a lot about the power of positive thinking. What is your experience with it? Have you found it makes a difference in your life?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Matchy-Matchy

Last year, I decided to embrace the neon trend by buying Obnoxious Pink shoes. I continued the trend by updating my workout wardrobe with obnoxious neon long-sleeve shirts. And just last week, I couldn't resist another pair of Obnoxious Pink shoes.

These make me easy to spot in the gym. Ya can't miss 'em!
Yes, my friends. I'm now the proud owner of neon pink and yellow running shoes. I feel sooooo 1993 and I'm loving it! I figure that by the time the neon colors go out of style, it'll be time for new shoes anyway. Win-win, right?!

On another fashion note, I actually put some effort into a matchy-matchy workout outfit the other day! Usually I just throw together some pieces and hope no one is offended by my (lack of) fashion sense.

Shades of pink
Pink seems to be the name of the game lately! Would you believe that when I was a teenager, I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing pink? I was all about greens and blues ... and oversized clothes (think wannabe skater). Something changed when I was in my mid-20's and I began to re-embrace my girly side.

Have you embraced the obnoxious neon trend yet? If you haven't, you should. Because it's fun to wear bright, clashing colors and you'll smile every time you put on your workout clothes!

Has your fashion sense evolved over the years? What has changed?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Attitude Adjustment & The People's Elbow

Even if you're not a WWE wrestling fan, I bet you know who Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena are. (If you don't, you should prolly crawl out from under your rock and Google their names right now. They're pretty. You're welcome.) Not only are these famous wrestlers and movie stars, they're also high caliber athletes with amazing work ethics.

John Cena keeps busy promoting WWE, going to charity events, and traveling to military bases around the world to visit troops, in addition to wrestling every week.

We went to WWE Monday Night RAW 2 weeks ago!
The Rock starred in 6 movies in 2012-2013, and has 4 more movies in pre-production. He wrestled in several WWE matches throughout the year, and kept a heavy promotional schedule at the same time.

The Rock winked at me!
Both Cena and The Rock know what it's like to work hard. To push their bodies to the limit, and then past those limits. And then do it all over again.

This past weekend, after throwing myself a few pity parties, I decided I needed to take a page from the notebooks of these dreamboats and give my negative thoughts some of their famous moves: Cena's "Attitude Adjustment" and The Rock's "The People's Elbow."

Basically, I need to launch my negative thoughts in the air, land them on their back, and then give them an elbow to the face.

It's time to stop sniveling and whining about how crappy I feel and how badly I just want to feel good again. I need to suck it up, buttercup, and act like the champion I know is hiding inside me.

I'm 3 weeks out from the Pittsburgh, and to be honest, I haven't been feeling very excited about prep. I'm tired, but have problems sleeping at night. I'm retaining water and my weight loss has stalled. Training and cardio are getting more intense. Instead of these next few weeks getting easier or staying the same, they're just going to get harder. And I'm going to feel worse. My body does NOT like to be this lean and I'm trying to push it past its limits.

My body will be UNFORGETTABLE
Some people may ask why I continue to do this to myself because it sounds awful. Others may criticize my methods of prep and think their method is superior or "safer" or "healthier." Still others may judge me for going to extremes just to try to earn a trophy.

To all of those people: I do this because I think it's worth it. Contest prep challenges me both mentally and physically, and I do love a good challenge!

It's time to do some wrestling moves on my negative thoughts, and then pick myself up from the floor, hold my head high, and channel The Rock: "I BRING IT!"


The Rock always Brings It!
How do you handle difficult periods in your prep? How do you handle criticism or questions about your prep methods?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Honest Truth

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
~ Spencer Johnson

Let's be honest: honesty can be tough! Sometimes it's so much easier to tell a half truth or to evade the truth for one reason or another. But when it comes down to your fitness goals, honesty is imperative to success.

When you have a diet and training plan, do you follow it exactly? Or do you add or subtract things periodically? If you do make changes to the plan, do you tell your trainer or coach? If you don't tell them, why not?

We hire coaches to help us achieve our fitness goals. We pay money for their expertise. So why not be honest with them? Why not try to get the BEST results you can by working with them?

My coach, Jerry Ward with BioS3 Training, talks about why it's so important to be honest with your coach.



Did you catch the part where he says that by not being honest, you're only hurting yourself? Coaches want the best for their clients, but being dishonest with your coach only sets YOU back from reaching your goals. When you're honest with your coach, they have all the right information to help you achieve your goals. They can make informed decisions about your diet and training that will benefit you. They're not judging you in any way; they're simply helping you. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your coach.

Are you 100% honest with your coach? Did you identify with anything Jerry talks about in the video? Have you heard of others who conceal important information from their coaches?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cravings: How to NOT Sabotage Your Diet

You're sitting quietly at your desk, working, when all of a sudden, you have a strong desire for Tombstone frozen pizza.

You're playing with your kids when all of a sudden, you have a strong desire for a scone.

The desire is so strong, you can almost taste the food in your mouth! Then you realize that your mouth is literally watering at just the mere thought of the food. Has this ever happened to you?

OMG. Pictures like this make me want to lick the screen!
We all have cravings, some stronger than others. It's what we do about them that makes the difference in whether we take steps closer to or further from our goals. The most important thing to remember about a craving is that it's just TEMPORARY. It WILL go away.

I've been reading some research about cravings - why we have them, what causes them, and how we can effectively deal with them - without sabotaging our fitness goals.

Here are a few good resources:
I know I've briefly mentioned my struggles with making healthy choices, and I know that some of you may be having some very similar struggles. I've noticed that the cravings seem to be particularly strong in a few circumstances: the middle of prep, the end of prep, off-season when following a very structured diet with little variety.

A few weeks ago, I had some atrocious cravings for pizza. Luckily, J determined that a treat meal was ok, so I got to eat a slice of pizza. That will be my only treat meal during this prep.

Last year at this time, I kept looking at pictures of food and recipes on Pinterest. I even compiled a huge collection of recipes that I wanted to make after my show. All this did, though, was spur my mood to feel crabby because I couldn't eat those foods. Instead of staying positive by focusing on what I could have, I focused on what I couldn't have. It was very negative experience, and not one I'd like to repeat. I haven't looked at Pinterest in months, and I also haven't been obsessed with foods I can't have on my diet. It's really helped my positive outlook this year. The worst part of all that? I didn't make one recipe that I collected. Not one. What a waste of time and energy on something so clearly useless and negative.

Just because my outlook is much more positive this year doesn't mean I'm immune to cravings, though! The other night, I shoved my entire head into a bag of french fries and inhaled deeply. I really wanted some of those fries! But then I walked away. Because my competition goals are much more important to me than eating a few fries that will just glue themselves to my hips anyway.  The craving was really strong, but I knew it would pass.

Things that help me deal with cravings:
  • Drink water.
  • Drink tea or coffee.
  • Chew gum.
  • Leave the room.
  • Look at myself in the mirror and remind myself of what I want to look like on stage.
  • Smell the food (if it's in front of me) then walk away. (I know this sounds really strange, but it helps me, and I do know others who do the same thing.)
  • Eat my own food.
  • Do cardio (if it's around the time I should do cardio anyway).
I hope some of these tips help you deal with cravings too. We all seem to fall prey to them at some point; the important thing is to stay focused on your goals and believe in yourself. If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and climb back on again. Don't make excuses for yourself. Take responsibility and come up with some action items to help prevent it from happening again. Stop any self-loathing before it begins - remove the emotion and press the Start button on your diet again.

How do you handle cravings? Have you noticed any time frame or regularity for when they occur?

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Very Expensive Day

Anyone who tells you that competing isn't expensive is lying to you.

As a procrastinator by nature, I hadn't booked anything for either of my shows up until last week. People kept asking me where I was staying, when I was getting tanned, etc., and I had to hide my annoyance.

I'm procrastinating, people! Let me procrastinate!

Until finally I decided that if I didn't make some reservations and bookings soon, there'd be nothing left over from the on-the-ball, non-procrastinators. So I made a list and started booking things.

I heart lists.
It was a VERY expensive day. My credit card is still weeping.

We now have flight and hotel accommodations for both shows. I just need to register for them yet. (Hey, I still need SOME things to procrastinate about!) I also booked my trip to Minnesota to visit my family after my shows. I'm so excited! By that time, I will have a new niece/nephew to meet!

I also still need to buy hair extensions. Last year, I bought a Jessica Simpson full head extension (which I love!), but this year, I'd like to try individual wefts. I'm still keeping my hair jet black, but I think the individual pieces may create a slightly different look.

Luckily, I don't need to buy a new suit or shoes this year. I'm going to wear my (BEAUTIFUL) suit I bought last year, and my shoes are still clean and look new.

Other expenses? I don't think I need any more material items. I'll wear the same jewelry I always wear. I may need some skin prep materials for tanning, but those aren't too expensive. I have my final hair and waxing appointments set, but I need to schedule my nail appointment yet. I always get a full set of acrylics because I like not having to worry about nails popping off on show day. Sometimes I get white tips done on my toenails and sometimes I just paint them at home. I'll probably get white tips done again this year.

Whew! Just thinking bout all these expenses makes my heart jump into my throat. I don't even pay to have my hair and makeup done - those would be even more expenses to account for!

But, like any hobby, the expenses are necessary. Skiing, golf, and hockey aren't cheap hobbies either, especially at the elite level. At the end of the day, you just have to ask yourself if it's all worth it. And to me, it's most definitely all worth it! I love this sport!

Do you have any tips for competing on a budget? Do you use hair extensions in wefts also? What has been your experience with them? Are they worth it?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No More Flu!

I don't know what's in the air this year, but so many people have been getting sick. Including J and me! Again!! I was just sick only a month ago, yet I got slammed with something again last week.

J came down with a high fever last weekend and spent a few days in bed. I felt fine until Wed evening last week, when I discovered I was extremely tired and then started running a temp too. I slept off and on for the next 3 days. I didn't do cardio, I didn't train. I did stick to my diet, though, cuz what's the point of breaking it? Being sick is no excuse to eat crappy food that would just make me feel worse.

Fevers are NOT fun
By Sunday, I felt like a brand new person! The fever was gone and I just had a bit of residual stuffiness and a random cough. But the best thing is that I felt completely rested from all the sleep I'd gotten! This week, I have a ton of energy, I feel happy and positive, and even better, I'm still making good progress! I retained some water for a few days as a result of being sick, but most of it has drained off by now (thank goodness! I felt like a bloaty whale!).

I was worried that being sick would set me back in prep, but J assured me that his prep plans always include room for incidentals like that. That's why we start prepping so far out - so a few days of being down and out won't wreck the entire prep timeline.

Speaking of my prep timeline ... I'm now 4 weeks out from the Pittsburgh show, and 6 weeks out from Jr USA's! Time is flying!!