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!


Friday, September 21, 2018

4 Weeks Out - Staying Strong

I had made a promise to myself to really document this journey to my competition this time around.......oops.

Pictures have been taken, measurements have been taken, workouts are being done, check ins with my coach are happening and life is just crazy.  With only four weeks to go tomorrow it is time for an update!

The changes to my body are insane, I have never been as lean as I am right now and there are new striations showing up nearly every day at this point.  My coach does not have me on crazy low calories or insanely low carbs.  I do have three low calorie and low carb days, right around 1182 for my caloric intake.  Is that lower than I would recommend for your typical athlete? YES.  But this is not your typical sport and towards the end when you are trying to cut the final bit of body fat you have some low days.

A couple of weeks ago I had my first really bad workout.  I hadn't hydrated properly the day before and it was a leg day.  My husband knew from the start it would be tough so it wasn't a heavy day by any means and he ended up cutting my training session short.  I was mad at myself, frustrated and shed quite a few tears.  My emotions have been a bit wacky and that day nothing felt better than having him wrap his arms around me in a huge hug reminding me that days like this happen, it's ok to cry it out but then I have to move forward.  He captures moments for me on camera and got a really good one.


This was on September 9th, just two weeks ago.  In my moment of frustration he captured a photo showing how far I have come, that thick back and all of those muscles showing.  I was blown away and it helped me rebound from my pity party.  It truly amazes me the things we sometimes don't see ourselves, I mean I rarely see my back besides photos obviously and photo proof of hard work is rewarding.  I would like to share two more photos from that day in my front and back pose.

 

We haven't taken my body fat in weeks, my coach Chris likes to base things off of weight.  In these photos I was the same weight I was when I stepped on stage four years ago but much, much leaner.  I am currently two pounds below that weight with four weeks to go.  There have been times when I've felt maybe I should be pushing harder but I really am thrilled with how this process has gone.  Her different approach to this cut has definitely worked and brought about a much different outcome.

Last week I had a work conference in Florida, I was able to go early and spend a few days with my best friend David.  It was a much needed break even though I have to admit traveling while cutting can be difficult.  The Atlanta airport is amazing they had this restaurant that served salmon and eggs, it was perfect.  I also preplanned and was able to get groceries there for plenty of protein waffles, egg whites, chicken and David knowing this process had protein cookies and bars for me.  He went through my two previous competitions with me and knows just how tough it is and how important it is to stay on track, especially in the final weeks.  We had a great time, he is majorly into Halloween and I was able to help him get his Halloween stuff moved from storage to the garage.  Of course some fun photos had to be taken as well :)


I wish we weren't so far away from each other but the time together was completely rejuvenating.  I'm not sure about any of you but I hope you are lucky to have friends who are truly a part of your soul, that is David for me.  He cheers me on in every aspect of my life and helps me believe in myself on the days I have a really hard time.

 


After a few days in Sarasota with David I was off to Orlando for the Teamsters Women's Conference.  It was wonderful, my co-worker was with me with her family and we had a great time.  The classes were awesome and being surrounded by so many strong, hard working, enthusiastic women was just awesome!  Of course I had to get my gym time in while I was there as well and even left an awesome sweat mark on one of the benches with part of a saying on the tank tops we made for our summer events with our gym.  The back of the shirts say "Find Your Strong" in blue font and "In You" is in white font.  A funny moment happened that day as I walked on the treadmill to warm up.  There was an older gentleman next to me and he looked at me and said, "I know you aren't here to do cardio", it just made me giggle.  That led to a conversation about my participation in the sport of body building and he was so encouraging, it was a wonderful moment.


The stressful part of this cut has had to do with our gym.  We are short on trainers so I have had to fill in quite a bit which has led to some 13 hour days, which I am not used to in any way.  Sleep is very important during this process to help your muscles recover.  I am a sleeper normally but lately I have had a hard time getting good sleep.  I've added in Melatonin which is definitely helping.  The day I flew back from Florida I landed at 4:20pm and taught the 5:30pm and 6:30pm classes that night and the 6:00am class the following morning.  That day completely drained me and I am still working on recovering from it.

I am looking forward to a weekend of quiet.  Yes I have my normal kickboxing, weight training and posing with my coach but that is just a few hours of my Saturday and Sunday.  Having my husband as my trainer and knowing he fully understands this process, has gone through it with me before is such an insane blessing.  I know this weekend he will encourage me to nap, hydrate and recover.  Our daughter is the sweetest as she also remembers my last two competitions and how tough the final weeks can be.  She is now 11, and will be 12 in just three weeks!  It blows my mind how she just wants to help around the house, make sure I am getting rest and encouraging me so much.  She just told me last night how excited she is for the competition weekend and to watch me on stage again.  I have surprised myself with pushing through all that has come along during this prep and know that these next four weeks will fly by.