It's time to blog about my preparation and competition day and the journey afterwards. I started preparing and dieting for my second WBFF show in April 2012 by eliminating certain things and tightening up my diet as well as increasing both cardio and lifting heavier weights for legs and back. I began to see slow, steady results and as the show day grew closer, I got more and more excited to step on stage again with the WBFF. I set a goal to receive my pro card status and did not hesitate to tell everyone this was my goal. I think you have to set goals and verbalize them. I worked hard every day, not missing a workout and even limiting my social functions in order to fit in necessary training and eliminate temptation with my eating plan. The last week is the hardest for me, as the excitement and anticipation grow and the diet gets more and more limited and difficult. At this point on Wednesday, I thought I was going to crack, but found the inner strength to get it all done. My last weight was 118 and my bodyfat is 10.5%... very low for me.
I decided to drive 465 miles north to Sacramento from San Diego with my best friend, Julia instead of flying.... only an 8 hour drive and a nice time to spend with a friend, right? Well, it took more like 12 hours and we arrived with a few hours to spare before we had to be at the orientation athletes meeting at 7:30. After attending, picking up my number and deciding I would do my own color since I had not made an appointment with the WBFF sponsored tanning professionals, I was in bed by 10:30. The next morning, I woke at 6:00 feeling excited, prepared and ready to go. I did all my usual girly things to get ready and we were off to the show. From the signage, the greeting faces and backstage crew, we were literally treated like movie stars. WBFF is organized, and they put on a very professional show. I met a few very nice girls whom I had only previously met on facebook ... Emily Reynolds, Alex Navarro and Sara Farr and they even nicer in person than they were on facebook. The backstage experiene is part of any show and can be frustrating to wait and wait and wait some more, but we always make the best of it and I always leave with one more friend than I had before the show. If there is one thing I am constantly reminded about is that everyone back there works so hard to prepare, so there is no room for arrogance, and a wrong attitude. Whatever you did to prepare for the show is all you have. With that said, I felt good about what I did and how I looked and had prepared. I practiced posing, walking, smiling, standing, and everything I knew to do and now I was ready... to wait. Soon enough we were lining up to take the stage for prejudge. Diva Fitness Model 35+ here we go.... 9 in my division but no height classes. I am 45 so competing with a group that could be 10 years younger is a bit concerning, but I'm doing it. I knew only one girl in my class... Jeannette Ortega, a classy lady who I have competed with several times in the past few years and have remained friends with. I'm lined up right behind Jeannette and we are trying to stay focused and relaxed and exchange smiles of encouagement. I take the stage right after Jeannette and as soon as I hit the first "X", I start shaking and cannot seem to get control of it. I walk (not so gracefully) to the center stage where I do my rehearsed rocker step pose and almost lose my balance and have to tell myself not to fall on the judges. I recover and step back and turn... still shakey, I can hardly balance or look poised (which we are being judged on, by the way). I continue my "T" walk, knowing at this point, I have lost the judges attention as the next competitor comes on stage. I finish and line up in the back line. Now, I'm starting to relax and get into the fun of it, so I pose my tail off back here in line while the other competitors finish their "T" walk. As I watch, I'm reminded how badly I messed up my "walk" as each girl looks poised, elegant and graceful. Oh well, nothing I can do now except get their attention and show them I'm really not that inexperienced, so I keep on posing, changing and smiling. We are called to the front line for quarter turns and I manage to gracefully do the turns wondering if I can possibly recover from my mishap for my "t" walk. They ask all 9 to step back and they proceed to the call outs..... One , Two, Three all the way to 6 are called front. I'm not one of them and I am feeling so disappointed. Not only for me, but for my husband who attends all my shows and I make eye contact with him for a silent exchange of love and support. It is always so nice to have him in my corner to cheer me on no matter what and that's exactly what he did.... I can hear his voice and his cheers that make me smile. The last 3 are asked to step forward and we do our turns again for the judges. Then they want us to pose down.... this is interesting because I'm not the aggressive type and usually bow to other competitors who step in front of me (which is what it's all about)... but not this time. I edged my way through and started giving it my all with the posing. I kept thinking I have a chance and it's not over yet. I can say I did my best to recover from my "first impression flop" and when we where thanked to leave the stage, I only hoped that I had done enough to recover.
The Evening Show: After a few hour break and a little time to eat and relax with my hubbie and best friend, we are back at the venue for the evening show where I will walk again in both my bikini and in themewear (which was not part of pre-judge), so I think I may still have a chance to show them what I've got. I made my themewear costume and I'm so proud of my work and my idea... (look at my previous blog for the photo of it). One thing I forgot to mention is that backstage for prejudge AND the evening show, WBFF supplied the athletes with chicken, rice, potatoes, fruit, water and desserts. Before prejudge, we ate the chicken, rice and potatoes and after we were exiting with our final placings, you could see the cheesecake, parfaits and other desserts slowly disappearing. So we are lining up for the parade of athletes to practice onstage before they let the crowd in and we do a few run throughs. Exit and here we go..... SHOWTIME! We are lined up for my division midway through for bikini first then costume. It seems to go pretty fast once we start and I'm not waivering from my eating plan at all because I think I might still have the opportunity to show them my BEST on stage walk. I take the stage this time with more confidence and am steady on my feet and I see my hubbie and friend out there cheering and sitting beside Billy Bow and Kat from FITNESS X Magazine. It's so nice to see friendly faces out there cheering for you. I was having FUN this time and it felt GREAT! We lined up again and they did turns again for show. We excited and changed into the costumes and after a short break we were lined up again for themewear. I am wearing a turquoise blue belly dancing outfit that I made with gold wrap sandals that I spray painted gold to match. I'm pretty happy with my costume and I hope it's glamerous enough for them. Here I go.... I feel great and I'm walking so much better... I'm smiling from ear to ear and having FUN with the audience. We go through our turns, and line up again and they parade us around the stage one more time. The judges call out the top 5 competitors and as I thought, I'm not one of them. With 5 called forward, the remaining 4 are asked to leave the stage area. You can always feel the disappointment if you are one of the exited few. We watch offstage as the top 3 are given trophy's and the 1st place winner is awarded her pro card... which is what we all want. It's over! I walk to my prep area feeling both relieved and disappointed in myself, but somehow I feel GREAT about what I did to get here. There isnt' one thing I could have done or not done in preparation of my body or working out to get here in any better shape. I truly felt I was in the leanest, best shape of any show. It truly is 40% presentation ladies, so if you mess up on stage, it will affect your scores.
I had a great day Sunday doing a scheduled wine tasting with my hubbie and best friend and a beautiful drive along the scenic California coast, still not knowing exactly how I placed. Upon arriving home and getting back at it for my next show... I'm back on with my eating plan and began workouts Wednesday again, I am still wondering how I really placed. I go online Thursday to find that I placed 9th.... that's LAST PLACE! I am so disappointed and overwhelmed with thoughts of "I want to quite." Wondering what I can improve, I contacted WBFF to find out. I'm still waiting for those answers, but as I do, I can only pull from what's inside me. That is that I am a natural athlete who has competed with many Federations since 1999 and I do this for FUN, it's a passion and I don't always win. I always learn from every show and the friends I've made along the journey make it all worth it. My true reward is myself, my health and my body. I work hard, I make sacrifices and I'm diligent and dedicated. I will carry on and I will compete again, this I'm sure of, but I'm not sure when at this point. This is what they mean by "pick yourself up by your bootstrings," so that's what I'm trying hard to do at the moment.
I look at the people who are watching me... and there are always people watching you, and I am reminded that win or lose, it's how you win and how you lose that leaves an impression and encourages or discourages someone else. So, I can only hope that my journey and my story will encourage someone to make positive changes with their body, health and lives.
Diva Fitness Model. Costume Theme Wear round.
I am excited to be training my first COMPETITOR for an upcoming March 19th NPC Figure show. Her name is Jennifer Williamson, so watch for her to be one of the rising stars in the fitness world. She began here journey as a very fit lady who did marathons, triathalons, etc., but she will tell you, this is different. Her progress is amazing and I can testify that she has done everything I've asked her to do. We are in the final month of training and she is right on schedule. I have trained myself for shows for over 9 years, but asking someone else to eat limited carbs and fish and veggies every meal is a difficult task...but it has to be done, it's part of the process to get to the goal. One thing to realize is that only 10% of the population in the U.S. ever try to do this type of competition.
In an effort to get local PR for my competition training program, I contacted FOX 5 News suggesting a story on a first time competitor (Jennifer) and they loved the idea. Last week they interviewed her and myself regarding what it takes to bring this together on stage. To see the segment, tune in to FOX 5 News next Tuesday, March 8th at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
I recently began training a client I worked with last year again. Her name is Alexis Swanstrom. Alexis is just 16 years old and is one of the most dedicated 16 year old girls I've ever met. We get together 3 times per week and her goals are set high. She strives to see her "six pack," and gives 110% every day. While Alexis doesn't need to lose weight, her goals are to be toned in her preparation for her upcoming Miss Teen California USA pageant. Something you should know about Alexis is that she was runner up to Miss Teen California USA last year and will grace the stage again this year. She is an amazing dancer as well and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She is a dream client in that when she shows up to work out, there is no stopping this girl. I will ask her to do 15 reps and at 10 it seems to be getting tough, so I lower the goal to 12 and she'll do 15 anyway. She's tough. There are many of us who would take the 12 and be happy with it, but not Alexis. You might say, "well, she's 16, it's easier for her," but I will tell you from experience that when I was 16, I did not have that kind of motivation and dedication...mostly because at 16 you don't "have to" and neither does she.
It's only week two for Alexis and her big day is in November. Stay tuned for pictures and progress.
I have recently started training a new client, Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin, who happens to be one of my Interior Design clients as well. I've known Patricia for a few years and one thing I know about her is that she is goal oriented and when she makes up her mind to do something, she does it! When Patricia called me, she agreed to participate in a monthly personal challenge to train with me, do my bootcamp's and take on a new eating plan. You can follow her progress here as she adds to this blog and in 3 months, we will post before and after photos to demonstrate the effectiveness of diligence, and dedication. Look for our posts and follow us on our journey to a more fit and healthy goal!
I've started my lean down for the next show on August 7th. So far so good. I made a switch in my diet to one that was recommended by a nutrition company but quickly realized it wasn't working "for me" and went back to what I KNOW works. See my previous blog about preparing for a figure show. I am doing cardio 6 days per week, but 40 to 45 min. each time with 1 minute sprints every 3 minutes to maximize leaning out in my legs. IT IS WORKING LIKE A CHARM so far. I'm following the lifting routine from P90X and then I supplement a few extra workouts in the muscle groups of that days workout to add more definition. I am working legs and abs every other day because I need it, some don't. My upper body doesn't need as much attention. I will keep you posted as I move closer. I am 3 weeks out right now and I feel really good about the progress so far. This show is a smaller one just before we leave for a 3 1/2 week vacation to Europe, and the next two shows are just 6 weeks after we return. That means my vacation will include cardio, lifting, rice cakes and protein supplements. Not to worry, I will enjoy a glass of wine and an occasional dessert.
It has come to my attention that some women want ideas on how to stay motivated and get started when their days are filled with chores that revolve around their family's and not themselves. Well, here are a few ways to get exercise into your routine without having to "carve out" time in your day. Get your pencil and jot these things down.
First, you're probably in the kitchen making breakfast, lunch, dinner, right? Well, while you're cooking, do a few squats or lunges. Start with 12 or 15 per leg on lunges or 25 squates. Your kids might think you're crazy but ask them what they think when their 40 and see what they say then. Ok, so you go to the bathroom too, right....I call these "potty lifts" and YES, I do this. I do 25 leg lifts while I'm sitting there doing nothing else. So multiply that by how many times you are in there in a day all alone. Believe me, these work to sculpt the legs! You can do these on the sofa too. Another way to firm the upper body is "counter pushups." While you're in the kitchen, use your countertop to do 25 pushups. You're not at a flat level, so they are much easier. They work well on the wall too, but when I do them on the wall, I fall towards the wall and catch myself in a pushup and push away. This is especially good to train muscle memory in the instance that you should ever fall forward. If you're at work in an office, "take the stairs". The first time you do it, you'll feel it, but do this everyday and you can make a difference. Park far away from the entrance to the grocery store instead of going around 20 times to get that up front spot. If you want to add cardio but don't have time to get to the gym and get on the treadmill or stepper for 40 minutes, take a 20 minute walk and lunge back. Basically walk away from your home for 10 minutes (you're only 10 minutes away if they need you) then turn around and do walking lunges on the way back. Here's another one for us ladies who always want to firm our triceps...tub dips. Just before you get in the shower, do a few dips on the edge of your tub (12 to 15). While you're IN the shower, (warning, only do this if you have a slip resistant floor and something to hold on to (not the tension shower rod); do 15 plie' squates. Just before getting dressed, I do one leg squates. Standing on one leg with the other straight back, bend the standing knee and go as low as you can, keeping the back leg straight. This will also increase core strength and balance. While you're sitting on the sofa or chair watching "Dancing with the Stars" or your favorite show, do some "couch cannon balls". While your sitting, lift your legs and bring your knees close to your chin and slowly extend the legs while breathing out. You can either keep your hands on the sofa for balance or do the no hands version.
These are just a few of the things I do in my daily life. Remember, EVERYTHING counts, so "just do it". Your dog , cats, husband and kids may think you've lost it,
Well, I've decided to skip the June 26th show and focus on July 4th in Venice Beach. I could have done both, but it's a long two weeks of very strict dieting. I'm trying a new lifting plan to add a little size in my lats and definition in my legs and so far so good. It's called German Volume Training. Anyone heard of it?
Preparing for any show is a lot of discipline, but knowing exactly what to do, not to do and what to eat, and not to eat is trial and error. It simply is different for each one of us. What works for me, may not work for you. I can tell you what I do and start there. Not to mention, I'm still trying to figure out my own body.
Two weeks from a show, I start taking any fruits, artificial sweeteners and unnecessary fats out of my diet. I also lower my carbs and restrict all carbs after 1:00 p.m. I make my meals smaller and eat more frequently, while being consistent with my cardio 6 days per week for 20 min. to 30 min. I focus on one body part per day and start lifting smaller weight with higher reps.
The 7 day prior to a show, I start my carb deplete/water load, which is typical of any competitor. I up my water intake gradually by 1/2 gallon per day Monday, Tuesday and then Wednesday getting up to 2 gallons. I do not use sodium seasons on my food this week AT ALL. The diet is very simple this week, consisting of white fish, chicken breast or ground turkey. I grill it or blacken the fish with pepper only. The veggie of choice is asparagus for sure. Broccoli and green beans all work against me in terms of bloating, so I stay away from them. For my workout, I keep the cardio at 20 min. max, slow ans steady and work all bodyparts with 100 reps of light weight to keep the muscles pumped and full.
The last 2 days are what we call carb load and water decrease (not deplete). I start my day with oatmeal, then at every other meal, I eat my protein with either veggies (asparagus) then yam, alternating like this throughout the 6 meals of the day. On these last two days, I sip water and to increase water shed, I will eat cucumbers, watercress, onions with apple cider vinegar on my protein. I drop the cardio these last 2 days, but continue with the 100 reps per body part.
This is what actually works for me, but believe me, I've tried everything else too. If my goal were to gain a lot of muscle off season, the diet would change considerably. You can't build muscle on a limited diet. I'm currently reading and researching the anabolic calorie loading and then decreasing 14 day cycle. I'll let you know what I find out, but it sounds like it has quality research behind the concept.
If anyone else has ideas they want to share, this is a great place to do it. If we all help each other, its a better world for everyone.
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