Friday, December 27, 2019

Goal Digger


Goals are something I truly love and take to heart.  I set very specific goals for myself and work hard to achieve every single one in all aspects of life.

As we all know I am currently cutting for my next figure competition but I also have another big goal set for 2019.  That goal is to hex bar deadlift 300 pounds.  I've wanted to do it for a long time and we spent quite a bit of time this year working on strength.  I love lifting heavy it just makes me feel like I am superwoman and gives me so much confidence.  Feeling strong is such an incredible feeling.

Last weekend I had issues lifting with my left arm during an upper body workout and that made me finally schedule a massage.  It had been about three months since my last massage and that is a long time for me, especially with all the hard training I have been doing!

I love our masseuse, he is truly an incredible human being and so knowledgeable.  My body is so much more mobile and happy when I get regular massages and when I keep up on it my body quickly reacts and releases tension easily.  If you live in the area and need some body work check out Denny and Kat McFadden at Mc² Bodywork they are simply the best and I cannot recommend them enough!!!

My body was so badly in need of the massage, I knew it would be pretty bad but man.  My left lat was like rolled around into my rib cage, no wonder I had issues lifting upper body and I knew it was hindering my really heavy deadlifts.  I felt like a new woman after my massage and my lats were finally free, which gave me huge wings!  I can't believe how wide my lats have gotten, my quads as well it feels awesome.  Now I will be getting regular massages, I know how badly my body will need them as I progress through the cut.

Tonight I decided I wanted to go for 300, I was feeling pretty good.  My first pulls were smooth and easy, I even pulled 275# for two reps that felt really good.  Then it was time for 300 and my mind started going nuts.  It is such a mental game for me and tonight I couldn't beat that mental game.  I got the weight off the ground but just couldn't push through to lift it all the way up.

The frustration I felt was so strong, I  just can't understand why I couldn't pick up that 300#!  I tried multiple times and Kyle was so supportive as were the awesome people who were at the gym working out.  Part of me felt a little embarrassed that I totally failed like that.  I always strive to be transparent and will be honest about these feelings, we all have them.  I was happy with the other pulls I achieved but damn it that 300# feels just out of my reach.  My body was completely taxed after this deadlifting session, I gave it my all and will need to recover a little bit before I try again.

I need to trust myself and believe in myself that I can lift that weight.  Really, I do know that I am strong enough and I know I am putting way too much pressure on myself.  The mental aspect is just as important as the strength aspect.  Getting myself into a better place mentally with this goal is so important and I plan to really work on that.

I am off work for the next nine days and plan to relax, do some work I enjoy from home, have lots of time with Bella and in the gym with Kyle.  A time to rejuvenate and reset.  It's been a crazy year for me at my job with the Teamsters with lots of challenges, some job changes and big steps for me.  Finding balance has been difficult and I know the upcoming competition will add to that but I am determined to make everything work.

The competition prep is going well, I am down about 6 pounds and feeling good.  I can tell my body is leaning out and measurements are also going down.  We haven't had to do anything too crazy so far but starting in a week we are going for a big change.  I love the way my nutrition coach, Chris, thinks and how she challenges me.  We are going to plan on a 20% caloric reduction for three weeks and see how my body responds.  I know my strength will go down it will certainly affect my energy but I am up for the challenge and am excited to see how my body reacts.

I have 19 weeks and it is going to go by so fast.  My faith and trust are in the process and the plan laid out before me.  The guidance and support from Kyle and Chris is essential and I am so blessed to have them with me on this journey.

Now to relax, reset my mind and look to the next day when I go for that big 300 pound goal again.  Even if I don't get it this year it will be ok.  That's the great thing about goals, you have the power to change and adjust them just keep working at it.  You will get there and so will I!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

So It Begins Again

I'm back and ready to share about my journey back to the figure competition stage! My goal is post once a week about the entire process for my friends, gym members and anyone else who is interested to follow along.

I am beginning my cut a bit earlier than previously planned. Kyle and I decided I would use Chris Goodman of GPS Coaching for my nutrition again. Chris sponsored me for my last competition and it was such a great experience, I am pumped to be working with her again. It's not that we aren't capable of handling the nutrition part of the cut but this way Kyle can focus 100% on the training part and being a supportive husband through the process :) One thing to always remember, it is always in your best interest to have a coach or mentor even if you are a coach! You can learn so much from other knowledgeable people and should be constantly learning about your craft.

When I reached out to Chris she wanted me to get started fairly quickly so I began on Monday. The start of this cut is so much different than any other cut because I am starting off at such high calories. During my building season I got myself up to 2700 calories a day which is so much higher than my previous cut starting point, I was only at 1680, that is crazy!!!! Starting at such a high calorie level will allow so much wiggle room for adjustments and make the process more enjoyable.

This also goes to show that with a properly functioning metabolism you are able to truly eat more food, give more fuel to your body and not have a lot of weight gain. I am eating 1,000 calories more per day and am only 3 pounds heavier than my starting weight of my previous cut. Eat your food, listen to your coaches, listen to your body and you will THRIVE.

As with the start to all cuts I had to send my photos to Chris. My current weight in the photos was 154, three pounds more than the start of my last cut. Kyle and Chris both see growth in the comparison photos, I do as well but I can be a little harsh on myself.

The biggest change I see is in my glutes and legs. They are definitely thicker and my wings are bigger too! Chris noticed growth in my shoulders as well, I do see it through my lats and traps for sure.

My calories were adjusted by 10% and I now have four "high" days and three "low" days. On the "high" days my carbs are 271g and on "low" days 239g. Last year was the first time I had done carb cycling, I loved how Chris had me do it and am looking forward to using this method again.

Chris strongly advised me to take the break I did in order to build more muscle. I really wanted to compete May 2019 but took her advice and decided to give my body the time it needed to recover from the previous cut and focus solely on building muscle mass, which also meant cutting out cardio. Cutting out the cardio was tough, I LOVE kickboxing and have continued teaching but not taking the actual classes. I did play sand volleyball over the summer on Sundays but other than that there really wasn't any structured cardio. We are now adding in 3 sessions of 15 minutes of LISS (low intensity steady state cardio) keeping my heart rate around 135 bpm and also 6 rounds of HIIT post workout.

I feel really good about the plan and am just so damn excited for this cut. I know I have grown and I know I am starting off in the best place possible. There are some health issues that I am dealing with but I am taking the steps I need to in order to stay healthy.

Ladies, our bodies change so much as we get older. I have been in denial of that for quite a while. My energy levels have been low which I kept associating with POTS but during training I would be exhausted after like two lifts, which was not normal for me at all. My period has become a monster and it is because I have fibroids in my uterus and my only option at this point is for a full hysterectomy which will then put me into menopause. Due to my family history of breast cancer I had my blood work done on Monday and found out that I am anemic. So I am taking iron supplements and will have my blood work done again in one month. I will have the surgery at some point next year and will do everything I can to keep myself healthy through this process.

So here we go, Stephanie of 2018 I am coming for you!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

NGA Peoria Competition

I have been busy and clearly neglecting my blog!  I just realized I never even shared a post about my figure competition......

What a weekend it was!  We headed to Peoria the Friday morning before the competition as I had my spray tan and polygraph that evening.  There was so much excitement through every step from picking up my bag of goodies to the polygraph and the spray tan and trying to get some sleep Friday night.

Have I said how dang lucky I am to have the most amazing, supportive tribe of people in my life?  My hubby, daughter, parents, bestie Traci, sister Mindy and niece Evey, bestie Shalae and her friend Kendra and a group of friends from our gym all were there to cheer me on.  It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about their support.  When I came out for my twalk during the evening show there was such a loud applause from the crowd, even the emcee was surprised.  I went to compete in Illinois from Iowa so I don't think they expected that much noise :)

The excitement of the day started at 4:30am with my breakfast of rice cakes and finally peanut butter!  Photos of me in my suit were sent to my coach so she could track my "filling out" progress.  My sister Mindy is the most phenomenal makeup artist and she started prettying me up at about 5:30am.  Traci and I headed to the venue for the athletes meeting at 8am.  I didn't step on stage until almost noon, it was a long morning and it was pretty cold where we were set up backstage.  

All of the other competitors were so amazing, encouraging one another, helping out with makeup or hair when anyone needed anything.  I'm telling you this sport is one of friendship and camaraderie.  Everyone has their own plans for pre show goodies like pop tarts, rice cakes and peanut butter (which is my go to), fruit, getting those carbs in to help fill out depleted muscles is so important.  Then you spend about 20 minutes pumping up before you go on stage AND I got to have two Reece's peanut butter cups, that made me happy :)

When it came time to finally step on stage my nerves hit me pretty hard.  I felt pretty relaxed but it had been so long since I competed.  I felt my posing was a bit wobbly but thankfully the feedback was that my posing was spot on!  I was in the Open Figure Tall category and the Figure Masters 35+ category.

 I accomplished my goal and brought my best physique yet to the stage.  I had cuts in my quads and until I saw the photos I didn't realize how awesomely big my back was!  This was by far the leanest I had ever been.  My suit is so gorgeous, I was just thrilled with how everything came together.

At this competition pre-judging is in the morning, then we take a break and have the evening show later.  That makes for a LONG day, I did have a Subway salad between the morning judging and the evening show.

The evening show is when all of the competitors get to do their routines.  Again I was dang nervous at first but when I heard the roar of my supporters it gave me so much confidence.  I didn't hear it on stage but in the video of my twalk you can hear my sweet Bella yell, "I love you mommy!"  After all of the routines each class is called out, sent backstage and called out again for top 5.  When there are "Tall" and "Short" classes the winners of each class go against each other for the top spot and their Pro card.

My coach was very confident with how I was looking and thought I would place well.  I honestly had it in my head that I would place in the bottom and had no thoughts of anything else.  To my complete surprise I won the Open Figure Tall class!!!!  

It was such a crazy moment, I could not believe it.  Knowing I would pose with the Open Short competitor for the pro card was insane.  I really wasn't sure if I was ready for my pro card yet.  

I didn't win my pro card that day and I am completely happy with how everything turned out.  I placed 2nd in the 35+ Masters category behind the beautiful woman in the blue suit.  I need to gain some more size in my quads and get my shoulders bigger.  If I had won my pro card that would have meant I could only compete in pro competitions.  To be honest the thought going through my head was, "I want to compete with Traci and going pro won't allow that".

 Traci is someone who came into my life through our gym.  We bonded instantly and it was a joy to help coach her to the stage last May.  It meant the world to me having her with us that weekend and she spent the entire day backstage with me.  I shed tears when I watched her step on stage and she shed a few that weekend too.  It really is such an emotional experience going through all of the training, the cutting and when you finally reach your goal it is indescribable.

I would not have been able to do as well as I did without the training of my husband Kyle and nutrition/cardio guidance of my coach Chris.  Kyle has been training me for 16 years now and I wouldn't want it any other way.  Bella had a fun weekend and she was pretty proud of her mom.  Sharing this experience with her at this age was such a blast!  I strive to teach her that you can do what you put your mind to as long as you are willing to work hard, to stay humble and to always strive to be your best.

Here are a few pictures from my twalk.  Chris helped me put together a walk I was comfortable with.  You stop and hit your favorite poses on different spots on the stage.  This is the fun part where you get to be yourself and show off all of your hard work!

My supporters made the experience even more special.  My parents are so, SO supportive of me and always have been.  Knowing how honestly proud they were just watching me do what I enjoy and then winning a category, again words can't explain it.  My beautiful, talented sister Mindy and our sweet niece Evey made the trip so Mindy could do my makeup, she is the BEST!  One of my best friends from high school made the trip from Iowa and came with one of her friends who has competed before.  The group of friends who came from our gym had ran a Spartan race about an hour away and they all came for the evening show.  Again I was just so incredibly humbled by the support from so many wonderful people in my life that I am blessed to call family and friends.

The whole experience was incredible.  I absolutely cannot wait to step on stage again.  I am taking the year of 2019 to work on building where I need to and will look to be on stage with Traci in May 2020.

I beat Stephanie 2014 and will look forward to presenting an even better physique in 2020!