Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Oh, You Noticed?

"Looks like your diet is finally starting to work," she said, as we passed by each other in the gym.

Huh? FINALLY starting to work? What do you mean? It's been working for the past 3 months; you just haven't noticed because normally I wear long-sleeved shirts to the gym. That day, I was wearing a tank top for the first time in months.

Last year, J informed me that I'd need to wear long sleeved shirts during contest prep. He had his reasons for the recommendation (read: directive), many of which didn't quite make sense to me. But he's the coach and I follow what he says to do. I stocked up on cute long sleeve shirts and resigned myself to feeling like a furnace while training. For a girl who doesn't like to sweat, it was not a fun experience.

This year, I voluntarily began wearing long sleeve shirts when I started contest prep. I discovered that I focused more on the mind-muscle connection when I didn't have the distraction of critiquing myself in the mirror while training. Again, I felt like a furnace while training, but I wanted to get the most out of my workouts.

Typical gym attire: long sleeve shirt and capris

Two weeks ago, J told me to start training in tank tops. It was time to unveil all the hard work I'd been putting in and actually SEE what I looked like while training. It may not make sense to those of you who don't compete, but what I look like at home is completely different than what I look like in the gym. It's all about lighting and muscle pump. Sure, I'd seen myself in the mirror at home and in restrooms, but I didn't know what I really looked like.

That's when I got the sarcastic passive/aggressive "compliment" about my diet finally working.

I can finally break out all the tank tops I've been collecting over the past year!

I've been getting a lot of comments and questions from other gym members lately, especially as the show is getting closer and closer. With very little exception, I've received a TON of support and encouragement. I'm overwhelmed sometimes by the outpouring of cheers, especially from people I normally don't converse with.

At this stage of prep, every supportive comment means so much. The mental rollercoaster than happens day to day and even hour to hour can get exhausting, and all it takes is one "Keep up the great work!" or "Hang in there!" to keep the smile on my face and the focus in my mind.

I'm still surprised every time I look in the mirror while training and see striations or a bicep vein. It's like I was sculpting and molding a piece of art under the cover of a tarp, and then I whipped the tarp off to reveal the almost-completed structure. Seeing the results of my hard work over the past few months is so rewarding, and one of the reasons why I love to compete.

What type of outfit do you wear while training? Have you tried training in long sleeves? Do you get support from other gym members?

8 comments:

  1. I really don't interact much with other gym members - I tend to focus inward and ignore everyone else, lol, but I last week I had to ask for assistance from a guy near me to get the bar off my shoulders, hahaha! I'd gotten it up there but by the end of my set I couldn't lift it up and off (shoulders). He was great about it and we both got a good laugh. The trainers there, I have more contact with (because of my coach) and not a visit goes by that one of them doesn't come up and encourage me. It's awesome, and often helps me make that emotional/mental switch from overwhelmed to validated. As far as clothing goes, I've always been one to "cover up", but my coach wants me wearing "less" so she can really see my muscles at work and rest. It's been an adjustment for me, but it's also building up my confidence. My favorite thing now is watching my delts while I work them. Are those mine? Really? Wow! Lol!! You've got this... I'm so grateful for the way you share, transparently, the journey and yourself. I cheer you on everyday! :-) Not in a stalker way, lol, I promise!

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  2. You're looking great Kari!!! I'm so proud of you. You look like you're stage ready already!
    BTW, I can't imagine working out in long sleeves.

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  3. You look AWESOME! So excited for you!

    T.

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  4. I fully plan to buy hats during my next round of purchasing workout clothing because I get really tired of the comments in the gym. Granted, it's been MONTHS since I've seen anyone who recognized me in the gym... but it seems like the second prep starts is when people want to chat.
    You look great Kari! Can't wait to follow your journey at Team U!

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  5. You look incredible! Keep up the great work!
    Deb Seyler

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  6. I always train in long sleeved shirts - lululemon are the best:)

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  7. ive always trained in long sleeves,long pants and a ball cap. most ppl don't even know I compete!
    : )
    to the few who do know, every bit of encouragement I receive is like a breath of fresh air!
    your looking amazing, btw!!!!!!!!!!
    keep killing it in the gym!!!!!
    cheering you on the virtual sidelines!

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