It's been several months since I last posted anything on my blog. Why? Because I'm busier than a fly being chased by a swatter.
I've got only about four courses left to take before it's time for me to start considering and planning the next phase of college which is student teaching. If you're a client reading this, don't worry, I'm still training for a while. I'm not quite ready to take the leap and quit training full-time yet. When the time comes, you'll know way in advance. Before I was working so hard toward this degree, I had so much more time for my favorite at-home hobbies: reading, writing, and napping).
I'm not sure why I didn't post my figure competition prep here. Perhaps it's because of all of the time I was spending on Bodybuilding.com, Scivation.com (forums there are great for fitness and natural bodybuilding enthusiasts), working on my degree, working with clients, or catching a breather at home. Or it could be (and I'm sure this is part of it), I was a little nervous about sharing the ups and downs of the whole figure prep experience.
Now that I've gone through the hardest stages of that and am prepare for the 2012 competition season, I'm ready to share some things I've learned about myself hoping it will motivate or encourage you.
Late last summer, I made the ultimate decision to compete in an all natural figure competition. I started cleaning up my diet during the Fall and really buckled down on the diet in November. At the time, I was planning on competing in February. It only took about three or four weeks to realize that I was carrying too much bodyfat to be stage-ready. So, I set my eyes on a competition in April.
Using the knowledge base that I already had, asking experienced friends and acquaintances for guidance and constructive criticism, and stating my goals to many people put me in the right frame of mind to do what I had to do. By February 1, I had lost almost twenty pounds of bodyfat. That being said, I was starting to second-guess myself in the gym and with my diet. Was I eating too much? Was I eating too little? Should I do high intensity cardio? Should I exercise on an empty stomach? Could I drink coffee? It was starting to monopolize my thoughts, especially at bedtime. All of that second-guessing and fretting led me to realize that I needed more outside help from someone who I could trust.
Right around that time, I started posing practice with my posing coach, Tina Peratino of Centerstage Figures. At the first session, I realized just how much I needed to focus on my presentation. Tina taught me how to stand in such a way to maximize my muscular and feminine strengths. She took pictures of me posing so that I could have them for reference. Boy were those pictures a wake-up call. I still had a lot of work to do and not much time to do it. That's when I decided to contact the man who would become my training and nutrition coach, Layne Norton.
When I first contacted Layne, I really doubted he'd ever have the time or interest in getting around to contacting me back. What a shocker it was when he responded to my email within minutes of my sending it. The really crazy thing is that I think it was nearly midnight. I was seven weeks out from my very first competition and I just figured I'd waited too long for him to be willing to work with me. After telling me that he typically doesn't work with anyone less than 12 weeks out from competition, he said that I should send him my most recent progress pictures. He ended that email saying he wouldn't make any promises regarding the whole thing. Over the next few days, we emailed back and forth...he wanted to know what my diet, training, and sleep looked like, he wanted to know what kind of supplementation I was doing, etc. After a few back-and-forth emails, he agreed to work with me.
My results with Layne were immediate. I'd been "stuck" at 127lbs for weeks. At the first week, I dropped about two pounds. Seven weeks later, I stepped on stage for the first time looking as lean and as strong as I possibly could have with the amount of time I had to do it. I was the Masters champion (women ages 35+) and I brought home three 2nd place trophies.
I competed again a few weeks later in two other competitions and walked away with trophies each time. By the third competition, I was exhausted and had come down with strep throat. The surreal excitement of my accomplishments gave way to exhaustion and a surprising depressed feeling. Then there were the post competition binges. Boy did I eat, and eat, and eat....and sleep, and throw up, and get sick, and feel depressed....
Here I am two months past my first competition season, about fifteen pounds heavier, and very proud of what I've accomplished personally and professionally.
So, what's coming up next? Well, I'm looking to compete again in 2012. In the meantime, I've got a degree I am strongly pursuing, a full-time personal training business to work, five beautiful kids who need more of me, and an amazing husband to be thankful for and enjoy. So, while I'm enjoying my family and working my job like most of you work yours, I'm also growing physically. You'll see these deltoids of mine getting fuller and rounder, I may be walking funny to your personal training sessions after having given myself a beating in the gym (don't think I don't victimize myself the way I torture my clients).
The smaller, but still important goals I've got are probably similar to most of my friends. Eliminate our debts, save more, get the home better organized, spend more time with the kids individually, etc. What's important is that my goals are not the sum of who I am. I set out to be successful because I wholeheartedly believe that the successes I desire will enrich the lives of my husband, my children, and me. Are you setting goals? Have you reached the point in your life where you want to be? You're worth whatever it takes to be as healthy as you can be and at peace with your life. Love you for the person that you were designed to be. Live every day like it matters because you matter!