Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I Compete

Lately I have found my Facebook feed full of negativity in regards to competing.  I can understand a lot of it, the industry has changed so much in the past few years.  Adding in the new divisions of "bikini" and "physique", while some shows are choosing to completely eliminate women's bodybuilding in favor of physique rather than including both.  Competitors are becoming coaches with their only experience being the fact they did one competition.  They do not have degrees in exercise science, nutrition anything that a true coach should have.  Cookie cutter diets are everywhere with the majority pushing women to eat extremely low calories while doing way too much cardio in order to get them to very low body fat levels.

It makes me sad and so disappointed.

Yesterday I read a great article on Run.Lift.Yoga. I really enjoy this blog and you should check it out.  Bri is educated, honest and always has awesome posts.  Her post yesterday hit home for me, especially because I had previously read the article she was talking about and I myself am a figure competitor.  The article was written by Christian Thibaudeau and it is titled Why Are You Competing?

Bri is right on, training for an ultra marathon is extremely different than training for a competition.  In both cases you are pushing your body to it's limits, in very different ways.  You do not have to compete in a bodybuilding show to prove you can push yourself.

Christian was pretty harsh in some of his article, not gonna lie!  He was also extremely honest.  With the bikini category it seems like there are many more women choosing to compete, they may have decided to train three months before a competition because someone who works out at their gym claims they can train them, so they do it.  A lot of these women find themselves consumed by one goal, getting a trophy or some huge type of recognition!  They will do whatever it takes, they will not look into the background of their new coach to see if they are actually a certified trainer or nutritionist who knows the science behind building up muscle mass and decreasing body fat the right way.  In the end they may step on stage feeling awesome and rebound after the competition, gaining back way too much far too quickly because they didn't know about reverse dieting.  Their metabolism will feel the harsh changes and can become severely damaged and they end up on this vicious roller coaster of trying to stay in competition shape and unable to be happy with themselves at a normal state.

I have been an athlete all my life.  It started with running then volleyball and when I found weight training I just felt complete.  I met my husband through friends and it took us a couple of years to come together.  He was a personal trainer and we enjoyed working out, we had discussed the possibility of me competing but I knew deep down it wasn't something I was ready to do.  I was very critical of my body and going down the road of competing at that time, well honestly I knew I wasn't mentally prepared for it.

At the age of 30 I knew I was finally ready both mentally and physically.  You HAVE to be in the right place mentally because most women do not walk around year round in competition ready shape.  My husband and I set out our plan, I myself did so much research on "dieting" and in the end I realized I didn't want to "diet" I wanted to change my lifestyle instead.  I vowed that I would not cut out food groups, physically I am unable to even think about cutting water and sodium.  My body just can't handle that, I do not retain fluids and cutting water or sodium would end up with me fainting on stage, not worth it.  The best resource for me when it came to nutrition for competing was Layne Norton, he is AMAZING, seriously I love him because he brings science into it and he is so extremely intelligent.  I also chose to incorporate the Fighter Diet, I like Pauline but in the end I wasn't happy with cutting out certain foods.  I still eat loads of veggies but I will not give up bread, cereal or pop tarts for that matter.

My first competition was two years later and it was honestly so much fun and an eye opener.  I placed fourth in one of my divisions and realized that I still had a lot of work to do.  You can't put on muscle mass in three months, it takes years to build up good muscle mass for most people, myself included.  I was proud of myself standing on that stage with my family and friends cheering me on.  There isn't one person in my large family who doesn't support me and my choice to compete.  Their support has blown me away, I get teary eyed just thinking about how truly proud they are of me as I reach my goals.

As a mother I have chosen to be very careful on this path.  I want to teach my daughter why I want to compete and how I do it in a healthy way.  I know people say this all the time but this is me being 110% honest, I compete for ME.  I do not compete for the trophies which will set in my office needing to be dusted ;)  I compete because I LOVE to lift weights and train, I also LOVE to proudly stand on that stage.  I'm not one to post loads of selfies on my Instagram, of course I will here and there but I do it because I am so proud of my progress.  You won't see butt shots or side boob shots, that's just not me.  The sex appeal of the industry gets under my skin, but sadly it is what it is and I choose not to go there.

Here are some photos from my first competition.  So, so proud of myself and these photos showed me where I needed to improve.  I never look at them thinking badly about my body, I look at them thinking I would like more mass to my shoulders and to get some quad sweeps.  Areas I just want to improve so I bring a better ME to the stage next time.

In the photos above I have my husband, daughter, parents and two of my best friends, I can feel their pride and my joy in these photos.  I have many more with my siblings and best friends but there would be far too many to post.  I worked so very hard for months to get myself ready for this competition and yes it was worth it.  I didn't become a fitness model, or sponsored athlete or get thousands of followers on Instagram.  I didn't care, that was not why I did it! 

This photo is one of my favorites, my daughter and I proudly showing off what we accomplished.  Bella went on stage for the kids pose down and got her very own awesome medal.  She was so incredibly proud of me and proud of herself for going up on that stage.  This beautiful little girl right here is why I will never deprive myself for a competition, spend HOURS in the gym or become harsh on my own views of myself.  I choose to workout before she wakes up for the day and with my husband being the GM for Kosama she enjoys going with us for kickboxing workouts.

The next set of photos are from my second competition where I placed third in my category.  My best friend sponge painted the tan on me, it didn't take well and I was so much lighter than the other competitors that it played into my scoring.  I was very happy with myself, I could see the improvements from the previous competition, my niece Carley did this competition with me and we just had a BLAST! 

Another awesome photo of family who came to support me, again I have so many I won't post them all :)  Four out of my seven siblings were there cheering so loudly, knowing how hard I've worked.

Now we come to the present where I have honestly felt a bit in limbo.  I became a Complete Nutrition sponsored athlete, so proud to represent a great company with truly amazing products that I DO use.  I have had ups and downs with my health and had to make a difficult choice just 6 weeks out from a May competition.  I just wasn't going to be ready, sure I could make myself ready by going to the extreme, but it wouldn't be healthy, I wouldn't be happy and my daughter would see that.  My husband was very honest with me and we decided to wait.

My plans were to compete this fall, after a long discussion last night a new plan has come to light.  I am going to spend the next 7-8 months building the muscle mass I want, working out with my husband at the gym and our good friend Corey.  Kyle (my husband) got in some big tires and battle ropes at Kosama, we are so excited to incorporate them into my training.  I am excited and looking forward to taking my time and not rushing myself, there is no age limit in this sport so why pressure myself?

It takes years to build a competitive physique.  You may feel the urge to do it and think you can take a couple of months lifting weights and then do tons of cardio while eating minimal food to get lean enough.  Please do not go down that road, you will destroy your body and your mind.  If you can't still enjoy spending time with your family and friends, going out to restaurants (believe me you CAN do that and still make healthy choices) and other activities you are doing it wrong.

Life is about making memories with those you love.  Standing on stage for a couple of minutes should never be more important than the people cheering you on and supporting you.

In the end I compete for ME.  I am lucky to be married to a man who has the same interests as I do and a daughter who enjoys watching me compete and she also enjoys being a part of my journey.

Make the right choices for yourself and your family, they come first.  So tonight I am going to enjoy going to a concert with my husband and having a few beers.  Tomorrow I will thoroughly enjoying paying in a 3's sand volleyball tournament, Sunday a long run is in store along with baking goodies in the Easy Bake oven.  Monday we will remember those we have lost and thank those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms and I will hit the gym lifting heavy weights because I am fortunate that I am physically able to do that.

Life is short, do what you love with those you love and always be proud of YOU!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dealing With the Pain

Well I have to say I am disappointed in how everything has turned out for me, but I am healthy and able to be active so I am eternally grateful for that!

The fibroid is too small to be causing any issues, there are no signs of trauma to my abdomen.  My doctor recommended physical therapy, which I declined.  The money spent thus far to figure things out has been quite a bit and to do physical therapy for this, when I can't get a straight answer on whatever is truly going on with my body, no thanks.

I adore my doctor and I know she feels badly, but I told her I will continue to be active knowing my abdomen muscles are perfectly ok and I will deal with the pain.

My runs have been good, average pace on shorter runs is 9:03 per mile.  I am SO close to breaking through and getting below 9 minutes!  Long runs are slower and the abdominal pain kicks in around mile 8-9.  It isn't too intense until I finish, it is searing pain throughout my abdomen.  The swelling hasn't been as bad lately, there is a positive :)

My half marathon is just a week and a half away.  To be completely honest I am looking forward to running with my sister and one of my best friends, I am already feeling a bit sad at the thought of not finishing faster than last year.  I know I shouldn't really be looking at that part of it, but I am one of the most competitive people you will meet, it is just in my nature.

I'm not saying it is entirely impossible, but I am planning ahead to just be happy to finish the race with such minimal training and know that I will do better on my next race.

My husband had decided to wait to start training me for my next competition until after the half marathon.  I have done some kick boxing classes but man am I missing the weights.  It has worked out in a way with it being the end of the school year for our daughter, her dance recital is coming up, one of my nephews has his high school graduation so we have been BUSY.

This weekend will be a fun one.  I am playing in a 3's tournament with one of my brothers and my doubles partner at Volley's.  A full day of sand volleyball makes me very, very happy :)  Sunday I plan on running an easy 8-9 miles, then some shorter runs next week before the big event.

My blogging has been minimal, frustration plays into that.  Once I get back in the gym my posts will become more frequent and I'll finally be adding in some exercise videos and other fun stuff.

Thank you so much for all of the well wishes, I truly appreciate it! :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Running Again!

Well I finally got my CT scan results and they were not really what I expected.  My ab muscles are fine thankfully and I don't have a hemorrhoid!  I do have a uterine fibroid that they will be doing an ultrasound on this coming Monday.  Apparently based on the location and size it could be causing my abdominal pain, so strange to me.

I am ok to run as long as I can handle any pain that comes along with it.  So I am back to training and have just three weeks until my half marathon.  I am slightly concerned only because I have missed so much training.  At least I have ran this race before, I know it isn't super hilly and I'm not a fast distance runner anyway :)

I would like to beat my previous time but I will not be disappointed if that doesn't happen, as long as I run the entire race I will be happy with that.

This ongoing issue has caused me to push back my next competition.  I was going to compete in July at the NGA 4th Annual Mr and Ms Sioux Empire Natural Bodybuilding and Figure Championship.  I was disappointed to have to make that decision but when it comes to figure competing I always want to bring my best to the stage.  I would begin my cut now and I just don't have the size I want to start cutting.

Hopefully we get everything figured out, I get back into my regular lifting routine and I can look forward to competing this fall.

It is hard for me to push back events, it really is.  I've learned to look at it this way though, there is no time limit, I can compete for as long as I am physically able and want to.  There have been some bumps along the way this year and I am making the proper adjustments which in the end will make me a better competitor.

Last night I got out and ran just two miles, I took my new running buddy with me.  I will have to split up runs to get him in proper condition, he made it two miles and we went at a slower pace than normal for me.  He did awesome though for his first run and I look forward to many, many more runs with my sweet boy Hurley.