It’s Getting Real Now

41 days left as a public teacher.

Making progress through the checklist towards retirement…

  • Turned in my resignation letter.

  • Met with rep at Human Relations. (A lovely young woman named Caitlyn.  Grateful for the chance to meet her!)

  • Putting together the paperwork for the state retirement system.  (More complicated than it should be.)

  • Signed my school district’s Letter of Intent yesterday, but this time, for the first and only time, I had to choose the “I reject employment…” option.

That “I reject…” declaration threw me for a loop and triggered a little spike in cortisol that lasted for another 8 hours.


I’m excited and thrilled to take the risk to work for myself.  But I’m also nervous, praying, a little scared – all the feels.  This is a major life change.  


Our state striped away a lot of retirement benefits almost 10 years ago.  Even though I’m retiring early, I wouldn’t get much more if I stayed longer.  


So my last day with classes is June 11.  Teachers have an extra day on June 12.  My teaching contract is split over 12 months, so that is done at the end of July.


I’ve been working steadily since last fall to set up my online math tutoring business, www.OnlineGeometryTutor.com.  I’m not known online as a math teacher, so I knew creating content for that would take time.


Still working on the details of the online fitness service I want to offer. 


From my own experiences with this health transformation and talking to a lot of people about their struggles, frustrations, and *most importantly* the obstacles that prevent them from sticking with the plan, 
I know there is a need for something more than a plan on a spreadsheet.


There is a need for something more than just being told or shown what to do.  


Even me, working with one of the best bodybuilding coaches in the industry,  with his scary-smart programming, with my determination, work-ethic, and the experience of five competitions –
it’s still hard


Life happens for all of us, but life is also different for some of us. 


It’s a bit of a different challenge when you’re a middle-aged adult with adult responsibilities.


It’s a slightly different challenge when there are people counting on you who might not be able (or willing) to accept that your self-care is just as important as the role you play in their lives.


People assume that the thing they are missing is some character trait.  Maybe.  Maybe not. 
 What if it is something I can teach?  What if it’s something you know but just need support to bring it to the surface?


I’m in “plan mode” now until I’m done with the day job.  My first priority are the kiddos in my classes now.  And then I need to pack up my teacher life and turn in keys.


And then probably have a bit of a cry, take some time to decompress, and enjoy the backyard patio my husband is fixing up for “retirement” as I write this post.


If you’re on my
mailing list, I promise – you will be first to know when I have something to offer!

***

Training is progressing, but it makes for a boring blog post.  I think I’m max testing next week.  THAT should be interesting!  I’ve been growing.  🙂

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Building Phase Update

Hi!

The grind continues!  My job as a bodybuilder right now is to get bigger and stronger.  This isn’t the glamorous part – but this is the most important part.

 

The first few months after my last competition were all about recovery and healing.  Most people don’t really think about weight loss as “tissue loss”, but that’s exactly what happens.  Fat is tissue.  But so is everything else – muscle, tendons, ligaments, bones, organs…all tissues that may be damaged a little by a long bout of dieting.

 

Many bodybuilders get hurt in the months after a competition season because they don’t give themselves time and calories to recover.

 

However, I gained more weight than I was supposed to.  I’m about 40 lbs over stage right now.  I know there are “hard-core-I-stay-lean” competitors reading this right now who might be judging my process, so it is hard for me to admit that I lost control a little.  And as a former fat person, I’ve got mixed feelings about that.   I’m a little embarrassed.

 

I remind myself that I was cutting hard for the better part of two years and I’ve been “in control” for nine years.  I needed time to replace all kinds of tissue and I NEEDED a psychological break from the nutrition precision.  It was also important to be able to relax and enjoy the holidays and my birthday with my husband.  

 

That said – some of that 40 lbs is muscle.  🙂

 

No idea how much and I don’t really want to check just yet.  I’m enjoying my psychological break from caring.

 

So my data has to be based on what I see, how I feel, and gym performance.

 

My calculated bench press PR jumped up 20 lbs in 8 weeks!  I think I mentioned that before.  Still getting stronger.  Not testing again for about a month.

 

All upper body is growing.  Back is growing.  Glutes are growing.  Quads – I don’t know.  Been having some issues with knee pain, so I’ve been careful with my leg work.  I’m not injured – I think it’s the beginning of arthritis.  I’m 56 and have been lifting for almost 8 years, so I expected the joints to age a bit.

 

Started a mini cut this week just because I’m not comfortable being this heavy.  Clothes don’t fit and I don’t have a lot of endurance.  Weight isn’t great for the knees and feet, either.  The plan is to cut what I can until mid-June.  Over the next year, it’s important that I spend most of the time NOT in a calorie deficit. 

 

I am in the body-building phase for about another year.  Next competition season will be 2020.  Not sure which shows.  Just know I don’t want to compete next year.   Big plans for 2018-2019, though!

 


In other news...

Still working every day on building my new online tutoring business.  I’ve been making a lot of progress with website improvements, content creation, and social media marketing.  The learning curve is steep.  It’s also a bit weird to be an “unknown” in the world for the thing I’ve been doing for over 20 years.  Need to create an “online presence” as the business coaches say.

Regardless, I’m a good teacher and I enjoy teaching math to teenagers – which is a niche.  When I’m working with kids online, it is amazingly fun.  A…MAY…ZING!!

I’m really excited to be able to do this thing I enjoy in private practice – to focus on teaching and doing it on my own terms. 

(Schools do the best they can under some less-than-optimal conditions, so I don’t want to sound like I’m biting the hand that feeds me.  Over time, my philosophy about math instruction has changed.  I truly believe big classes are NOT the best way for teens to learn math.  Until schools can find a way to individualize, parents need to learn about the new options that are out there.  I know it was eye-opening for me!)    

 

Just in case you might be interested, a second business, one that is fitness-related, is in the works and should be ready to be launched by the end of the year.    

And there is that book I was supposed to write a couple years ago…


And then there’s this…

I spent a few months volunteering time to train a woman involved with the Rise and Grind program at my gym.  This program helps women recovering from addiction with regular exercise and nutrition.

 

For those of us who used the same approach to transform our own lives, this just makes sense.  But it’s so much more important considering the battle they wage – they aren’t just trying to get healthier – they are tearing away from dysfunction and recreating their lives.  The courage it takes to do that is impressive.  Remember how it felt to walk into a gym the first time?  Intimidating, right?  Now imagine what it must be like for one of these women.  It was humbling for me to participate as little as I did.  

img_5678

Please consider treating yourself to one of their t-shirts or hoodies.  I love mine!  The fabric is light and soft.  The logo is badass!

Contact Grant Denton (modeling his program’s new hoodies below) directly by visiting the Facebook page, @RiseandGrindReno.  If you do, will you do me a favor and let them know I sent you?  I’d like the Rise and Grind ladies to feel the LMS love and support – like HUGE bear hug!   Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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The Global Learner in Math Class

My other blog…
This blog is to provide information and resources to parents of teenagers. Please share if you know anyone who would be interested. Thank you!

Tammy White | Online Geometry Tutor

A global learner needs to understand the concepts and see how they fall fit together before they are able to understand the steps needed to solve a math problem.

It’s the global learner who is more likely to ask me “why do I need to learn this?”.

On the other end of the continuum, the sequential learner needs to approach a problem systematically and will want to see the list of steps needed to solve a problem before they can understand the “big idea”.

It is the sequential learner who will request that I “just show them the steps”.

A simple analogy – a sequential learner will be able to start working on a puzzle by playing with the pieces, probably putting the edges together first, then working inward.

A global learner won’t feel like they can start unless they can see the picture of the finished puzzle first.

As…

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Improvement Season Update and a New Business Introduction!

Long time, no see!  Sorry I’ve been quiet here on this blog.  Life has a lot of things happening right now.  I’m busier than I was during my competition season last summer and fall.

Improvement Season Update

Physically, I’m doing great.  I’m back to a healthy body weight.  Actually gained more than I intended.  The plan was 15 pounds.  But I didn’t feel “normal” again until I was up by 25.  And then I gained another 5.  My scale weight is fluctuating around 155 pounds now.  I’m working to maintain it there.

This scale weight, for this improvement season,  feels drastically different than it did at this point after my 2015 season.

Upper body lifts in the gym have been productive.  Eight weeks ago I tested my bench press.  Eight weeks ago I was still recovering from a long contest prep, so I didn’t expect much, but the calculated 1RM was still about what it’s always been – around 125.

By “always” I mean exactly that.  I remember a time when it jumped up to 128 and I was impressed by how many YEARS it took to go up 3 lbs.

Tested it this week again.  After 8 weeks, my calculated 1RM was 146.  Up 20 lbs in 2 months????

Yup.  Something is different.

I’m not super thrilled with extra body fat, but that’s how my body works.  When I’m anabolic, I grow.  I grow everything – not just muscle.  All tissues needed to recover.   Joints feel good, too.

There is that social pressure though, right?  I’m not immune.  No matter what anyone thinks, my reality is that I’m a bodybuilder, not a fitness model.   And it feels like I’m back under construction in a big way!!!  Yay!!

 

But can we just pause for a second and reflect on that bench.  A 20-pound increase in bench press in 2 months??  Who does that?  Hahahaha!

 

The Birthday I’ve Waited For

This Wednesday, February 14th, will be my 56th birthday.  This is the weird one.  My mother died when she was 56.  It’s going to be difficult come November when her death anniversary gets closer.  I think I better plan to do something epic for the day after that.  When I turned 50, I pulled a truck.

What to do?  What’s an appropriate physical challenge for outliving some superstitious date on the calendar?

 

Private Practice

The main reason I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties is because I’ve been working every spare minute on my new business – private, online teaching/tutoring.

I am retiring early from teaching after this school year.  It’s time to go for a lot of reasons – none of which have anything to do with a loss of passion for teaching.  It still feels like that’s my calling.  I enjoy teaching math to teenagers and not many people do.

However, being a government employee was never my calling.  That was what I needed to be if I wanted to be a teacher.

Times have changed.  Technology has advanced.  I can now go into private practice.  The plan is to retire next summer and begin working with students privately online.

I can only work with a few online students now because I’m still working full time and training.  Next August, private practice will be my full time passion-project.  That’s exciting!

The current task has been to create an online presence that reflects my real life experience.  That’s what I’ve been working on these last few months.

<Shameless cross-promotional marketing in 3…2…1…>

I would appreciate it if you would take a look at what I’ve created and give me any feedback you have…

www.onlinegeometrytutor.com

My new blog is www.onlinegeometrytutor.wordpress.com

My YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages are all called Online Geometry Tutor, too.

File Nov 18, 5 48 39 PMPinterest screenshot

Oh my.  It seems like a lot when I list it all in one spot.

It’s been a feat to create content that I can use in all these places.  That’s why, if you’re following on the LMS page, you’ve seen some of the Online Geometry Tutor inspirational quotes popping up.  I’ve got to multi-task!

I do need your help if you’re willing.

If I was your math teacher, or the teacher of your child, I would appreciate it if you would drop by the Facebook page and review with a star rating.  If you would be willing to write a review of what it was like to work with me, that would be helpful to parents who visit the page looking to find out more about me as a teacher.

Following and sharing pages and/or posts would also help parents find me.

My latest video…

 

My business plan is to start with the online teaching first, then launch something with fitness.   I’m still not sure what that is going to be, but I want to offer something that supports people with their own health transformation, but isn’t exactly the same as what other online coaches offer.  As soon as I know what that’s going to be, you’ll know.

There is also that book I’ve been asked to write…that’s been on the back burner until I “retire”.  Ha!  Doesn’t sound like retirement, does it?

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How to Calculate Your Macros 2.0 – Guest Blogger Colin DeWaay

Hi!  I asked Colin to do another article for us about calculating macros.   Just in case you don’t already log food, I use an app called Cronometer.  (I’m not sponsored by them or anything like that. )  I used to use the BodyBugg app to track, so when that went away, I searched until I found one that had a simple interface and would show macros easily.  I also needed an app that allowed me to use my desktop as well as my mobile devices.

I hope you like Colin’s post!  Please leave your questions in the comments and he’ll answer them.  Or if you’d rather talk with him privately about your situation, his contact info is at the end of this article.

***

One of the more common questions I get from people looking to start tracking macros is, well, just how the heck do you know what your macros should be!? It’s a fantastic question really, just because you’re willing to track doesn’t mean you know what to do. There isn’t exactly a guide out there that shows you exactly how to do it. Sure there’s websites with macro calculators, there’s TDEE calculators and every kind of calculator you can think of. There’s only one problem though, they’re just calculators! They don’t know anything about YOU.

 

We can look at calculators all day long but they are just math equations. They don’t know anything about you, your genetics, your past habits, your current habits, most importantly your dieting history. As I’ve written about before this is arguably the biggest variable in how much some should be eating and why so many people find it so difficult to lose.  There’s just no way any online calculator could know your maintenance calories without know A LOT more about you. So what should you do? I’m glad you asked.

 

The very first step is simply to start tracking. DO NOT change the way you eat. Whatever you’ve been doing continue to do it. If you would have gone back for seconds, go back for seconds. If you would have skipped eating all day, skip eating all day. If you would have taken down an entire bag of Double Stufs do yo thang! Just track it. I know you’re anxious to start making a difference but this phase is critical. Take a week (two weeks would be even better,) don’t change your eating habits, but track it, track it ALL. It’s critical to be honest during this phase, because you’re getting a look into the REAL state of your metabolism. If you’ve been maintaining your weight eating a certain way and now you know how much that is, boom, you have a rough idea of your maintenance calories. NOW you have a better idea how you can proceed.

 

Not only does this experience help you see how much you’re actually eating (most people are surprised by how much or even how little they eat) but it also starts to show you what’s in the food you eat. How many carbs, how much fat, how much protein. You start to get a better picture. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they prefer carbs but when they actually track their intake find out they eat A LOT of fat. That’s honestly one of the best parts about tracking macros. It TEACHES you so much about food, nutrition, and your body. Everyone wants to be able to eat intuitively, but how can you be intuitive if you don’t know what’s in the food you eat? You must learn first.

 

Anyway, now that you have a rough estimation of how many calories you’re eating we have two things we need to do. First is determine if you’re even in a position to go into a fat loss phase. The second is to start calculating your macros. What do I mean IF you’re in a position to go into a fat loss phase? Well if you’re maintaining your weight on a very low amount of calories it wouldn’t make sense to try and lose weight. Think about it. If you’re maintaining weight on 1200 calories, what are you going to do to lose? Eat 900 calories? What about when your plateau on that? 800? 600? At what point can you not possibly do it anymore? If you’re not in a good position to lose? It’s time to start looking into reverse dieting to improve your metabolism and put you in a position to succeed.

 

Anyway as far as calculating your macros (you’ll want to do this no matter what phase you go into) I actually recommend you take a week eating about the same amount of calories you did before but with more structured macro targets. This way not only do you get a little practice with macros first but you’ll get an even better understand of where you’re at metabolically. Think of it as an opportunity to make your fat loss an even better success.

 

Now that you know your total calories, and keeping in mind 1 gram of protein has 4 calories, 1 gram of carbs have 4 calories and 1 gram of fat has 9 calories. I recommend you start with a protein target of anywhere between .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you can use lean body mass to calculate this instead of total body weight. Protein is easily the most difficult macro for most people to hit, but also the most important because it’s A) responsible for building and maintaining muscle mass B) by far the most thermogenic macro (your body burns about 30% of protein just processing it vs about 6% for carbs and 2% for fat) and C) it’s also by far the most satiating macro meaning when calories get low more protein will help you feel less hungry. From there you want to set your fats. Choose somewhere between 20%-30% of your calories from fat, I usually suggest right around 25% (rarely will I want someone under 20% ever.) If you prefer more fat aim to the higher end, if you prefer more carbs aim for the lower end. From there the rest of your calories come from carbs.

 

To try and help this make more sense I’ll show you an example. Say you are 160 lbs and you’re going to eat 2000 calories daily (random number, easy math.)

  1. If you eat 1 gram per pound of body weight that would be 160 grams of protein. Since 1 gram of protein has 4 calories you’re getting 160 x 4 = 640 calories from protein.
  2. Say you choose 27% of your calories to come from fat. 27% of 2000 would be 540 calories. 540/9 = 60 grams of fat.
  3. Since you have 540 calories from fat and 640 coming from protein we know we have 820 calories left to get to 2000 and it’s all coming from carbs. 820/4 = 205 grams of carbs daily.
  4. So your daily macro target is 160 protein, 205 carb, 60 fat.

 

This doesn’t mean you have to hit those numbers exactly and you can have higher/lower days to get to a weekly average, but it’s a starting point. Understand that it DOES NOT require perfection, and I typically recommend you just try to stay within a certain range. In a more serious phase you may try to stay within 5 grams of everything, just starting out you may aim to stay within 10 or even 20 or interchange some carb and fat calories. The point is don’t get stuck trying to be perfect, just get in the ballpark and understand you can’t bank on success every day, use weekly averages to help balance life.

 

Now if you’ve kept your calories the same for a week or even if you decide to jump right into a fat loss phase, it’s time to reduce your calories so you can start burning fat. I usually recommend dropping calories from anywhere between about 300-700 calories from your maintenance calories depending on how much I know about someone. If you have a longer more extreme history of dieting? You probably need to be on the more aggressive side. Almost no history of dieting? The lower end will probably be a good starting point. The trick is you need to make a significant enough drop to elicit a response, but not so much that you have no room for adjustments down the road.

 

See your body WILL adapt to whatever you do so you don’t want to drop your calories too low too fast or you’ll have no room to adjust when this happens. But if you don’t make a significant enough of a change your body probably won’t respond and you won’t see much fat loss. No matter what you do at this point it’s all about monitoring and adjusting. Everything we do is based on a calculated guess but being consistent and tracking will always tell us if it’s working or not. If your body doesn’t respond you have to drop calories more (and/or increase expenditure.) If you start losing weight too fast you can add some calories back in. I usually don’t want to see much more of an average of about 1 – 1.5% of total bodyweight per week because beyond that you’re likely sacrificing muscle to see more weight loss. Remember, not all weight loss is created equal! Understand this is just an average and that weight loss is never linear and progress comes in many forms way beyond just scale weight. I’ve seen people lose 6 inches in their waist before ever losing a single pound. So take progress pics and measurements too! Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting, compliments from people you know, how you FEEL, etc.

 

Oh I almost forgot. One more thing regarding protein. If you haven’t been eating much protein jumping up to high protein will feel almost impossible and quite frankly you’ll probably feel pretty crumby even if you did so it can be a good idea to start lower and work your way up over time. If you’ve eating 50 grams a day and now you want to eat 150 grams a day, well, good luck. It would probably be a better idea to set a more realistic goal like maybe 80 grams and then look to increase 5-10 grams every week (substituting carbs for protein.) But please don’t get me wrong, prioritize protein! It’s extremely important.

 

So there you have it, my recommendations for starting with macros. It’s not an exact science and there’s no “best” way to do things, this is just a rough starting guide. Each individual is different and needs to be treated different based on preferences, genetics, history, etc. But if you want to learn and get better, there’s no better way. Just like anything it will take time to understand. You’ll get frustrated at first. You’ll have to put in work. But if you take the time to lay the foundation now you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of success.

 

 

For more information from Colin download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on an email newsletter where you’ll receive daily emails with helpful advice.

 

Colin DeWaay holds a personal training certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He’s the owner of Colin DeWaay Training LLC, an online strength and nutrition consulting business that fully customizes training and nutrition programs for those interested in general fitness all the way up to advanced powerlifting programs. He specializes in helping people with a history of yoyo dieting create a more sustainable healthy lifestyle, improving metabolism through reverse dieting if necessary, and helping make binges a thing of the past by creating a healthy relationship with food utilizing flexible dieting. His goal is not to produce quick results, but to help produce realistic, sustainable results that last.

http://colindewaaytraining.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/colindewaay

https://www.facebook.com/ColinDeWaayTraining/

 

 

 

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2017 Prep Update: “How Did You Do?”

It has been three weeks since the last show of this competition season.  The last show was on Saturday, October 15th, and I was back into teacher mode on Monday morning.

Another HUGE life change is in the works, so I’ve taken time to reflect before I wrote this post.  I also wanted to wait until I got the “official” show photographer’s pictures so I could do comparisons from stage to stage.

First…

THANK YOU Colin DeWaay Training !!!

Your sponsorship for this last show made it possible!!   As you read through this, you’ve got to know it was the most amazing experience I’ve had in bodybuilding to date.  I believe that it was blessed from the start because of your generosity.

THANK YOU!! Alberto Nunez, The Patient

You are a Scary-Smart Program Writer and Peak-Week-Whisperer.  We did good.  I’m excited for 2019.

 

“So how did you do?” is the logical question, right?  And then I see the look of disappointment in their eyes when I tell them my placing -third out of 3 in Class B, my string of last place finishes in my class continues, but this was my best presentation to date and it is ok because that’s a fair placing. And then a look of dubious agreement as I explained that this sport is about personal progression, yada, yada, yada…

Honestly, it’s better than OK.  Something finally clicked after the July show when I got last place for bodybuilding in a line created by the promoter with me and three figure pros.

I spent two years mustering the courage to get back on that stage to be judged even after I was told I would never be competitive.  2017 was all about proving to myself that I’m capable of standing back up and taking hits.  Period.  It’s not about bodybuilding or how I look – it’s bigger than that.

Hindsight is 20/20, right?  My physical transformation was a side effect of the real work I’ve been doing.  I’ve used bodybuilding – the training, the disciplined nutrition, the stage experiences – to slowly learn to face fears that crippled me before.

The mental game I needed to change myself physically has built a growth mindset about everything else, too.  2015 knocked me on my ass and gave my inner self-doubt plenty of material to use against me.

But now I know 2015 wasn’t supposed to be a disappointment – it was the next lesson.  Had that not happened, I would not have done the research, the crying, the soul-searching I needed to break through some old-thinking to become a better teacher, to be a more supportive and encouraging wife, and do to get ready for the next big, scary life change I’ll tell you about at the end of this post.

Every time we face a fear and act anyway, we get stronger.

What you see here is only the physical transformation.  Too many people get too hung-up on this part.  What  you can’t see is the most important part.  It’s the grit.  I thought I had grit before – I had no idea.  No.  Idea.

Every obstacle gets steeper.  Every obstacle navigated makes us stronger.

As I write this, I’m thinking about a young woman walking into the gym, knowing she has to loose hundreds of pounds, feeling that people are going to judge her, but she shows up anyway.  Or the grit it takes to finish those damn burpees!

I’m telling you that it isn’t our obstacles that stop us – it’s what we think about our obstacles that stops us.

So I’ve learned that if there is something that needs to be done, something inspired, something big and scary, don’t think.  Just act. Now I have the confidence to know that I can figure out the details as I go.  I CAN make it work.

I went into the July 2017 show in my best physical condition to date, was the only “bodybuilder” who registered for that show with the intention of competing as a bodybuilder, and I still came away with a last place finish.   But that’s just their record keeping.

My personal victory was getting back up there and putting the ribbon and bow on the big “Not-One-Fuck-Is-Given-Present” I needed to deliver to the nay-sayers.  This.  Is.  My.  Sport.  I will continue to get up, dust off, suit-up and show-up.

Anyone who feels compelled to clue me in on why I’ll never be competitive as a bodybuilder, needs to (appropriately) direct those comments to a mirror.  I’d rather keep placing last than quit. 

(If it’s negative me talking to real-life me – well, shut up and get in the back seat.  You’re not driving.)

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ~ Winston Churchill

I went into the October 2017 expecting to not place well because I knew I’d be in a line with athletes with more muscle, so the plan was to have as much fun as possible.  That show turned out to be the most enjoyable one to date!  It was an amazing experience!

 

My friend and teammate, Denise, did this show together, which was a first for me and made it memorable.  Her daughter did my makeup and that made it special, too.

Denise was in Class A and I was in Class B, but when they lined us up, we were next to each other.  We weren’t competing directly, so we just got to go out and have fun!  So awesome!!

I’ve been told by other competitors that it’s the camaraderie that hooks them and what they enjoy most about competing, but it wasn’t until this 5th show when I got to experience that first hand.

I was so tired after this show, I asked Hubby if we could just go home.  I showered off the top layer of tan, made myself a lovely grilled cheese sammich, had an adult-beverage, and hit the hay.  The next morning – our first visit ever to the Cheesecake Factory!!  Oh yeah.  That was pretty damn special.

It’s been a blessed competition season!  My friend Michelle flew out to support me in July and  Denise was next to me on stage in this last show.  And then a fabulous meal with my guy!!  It was a perfect way to end my two-year intense self-reflective period – a total celebration!!

I made a point to meet and get to know the other two women in our division before pre-judging.  We were all friends on Facebook by the time the night show rolled around.  We cheered for each other off stage during our individual routines.  We celebrated back stage afterwards by sharing a bag of caramel M & Ms (Thanks Michelle for introducing THAT awesomeness into my life!  Paying it foward…)

The three women  to my right have inspiring stories about how they got to this place and it was humbling to hear them talk about their challenges and blessings.  So yeah, I had fun, met some amazing women, and I think we will be friends for a long time.  And I placed last.  But this medal was not a generic, plastic trophy.  This one is special.  This is now my favorite last place ever!!!

So How DID I Do?  Really?

Ok – now the nitty gritty.  I was a couple pounds heavier in the October show than in the July show.  My peak week was different this time, too.  My coach, Alberto Nunez (3DMuscleJourney) doesn’t change things up, but for the October peak, my body wasn’t filling out.  I’d send video each morning and then he would increase my carbs each day – by a lot.  Doubled, usually.  Highest day approached 300 grams.

As a result, we both think I looked sharper in October over July in the videos, but I don’t think I see that in the photos.  The extra scale weight could be accounted for by muscle fullness, which would make the definition appear sharper.

Once I got the pictures, I think the lower body in the back was the only part that truly improved.  Or it could be the difference in the poses between bodybuilding and physique.  I’m going to just drop a bunch of pictures in here and let them speak for themselves.

Pre-Judging Pictures: Women’s Physique, Class B

 

 

Shots From Routine at Night Show

 

July 2017 Stage vs. October 2017 Stage

Another Big, Scary Adventure

This is me after I dropped off the paperwork requesting an early retirement from teaching.  It included a letter of resignation effective at the end of this school year.

Not retiring from working – quite the opposite.  Because of bodybuilding, because of the 2015-2017 lesson, I’m brave enough now to believe I can teach on my own terms.  I want to teach math in a way I know is effective and helps kids.

When I’ve told a few people I’m ‘retiring’, they say “Congratulations“, which I know is the appropriate response, but honestly, I feel like I’m losing something.   I love teaching math and I’m good at it.  It’s been my calling more so than my job.

I feel like I’m doing my best work now and I honestly thought I had a few more years left in my tank.  But lately, it’s been obvious that changes made in education have hurt kids.  It’s been bothering me too much that I’m part of it.

I stayed because I also know teachers can stave off some of that damage.

But something happened that crossed a line for me, personally.  It’s not necessary to get into it.  It’s sufficient to say that it was the “push” I needed to at least research my options.

If  stepping into a gym to ask for help was scary, stepping onto a stage was scary – this tops everything!  After 22 years as a government employee, I’m leaving early, so the retirement benefit will only half of my monthly income now.  Health insurance isn’t paid for retirees in my state anymore, either. I’ve analyzed and over-thunk the crap out of this since last spring when the last straw fell onto my back.

And then the 2017 competition season happened.   

I didn’t die. 

So I stopped thinking and acted.  I will make this work.  When I get worried, I flip my script and stay focused on the  exciting opportunity ahead that is pulling me out.

I’m going to be an entrepreneur!!! $$$$

I’ve been working with a business mentor to start my own business as an online math coach/tutor specializing in closing learning gaps in that keep kids from being successful in geometry.

If the negative stuff was the “push”, this is the “pull”  I’m excited!

There will also be something similar happening with fitness online, but I’m still working out exactly what my niche will be in that world.

If you’re reading this now, you will be one of the first to know about that when I’m ready.  My LMS peeps have been with me for years, so it’s important to me to tell you about it first, and if turns out to be something helpful, you will get first dibs.

The plan is to have both sides of this online business ready for a “soft-opening” in January 2018.  Assuming the school board approves my request to leave, and assuming nothing else happens to change my plans, my last day as a public school teacher will be July 31, 2018.  Whatever the next thing is going to be, it needs to be fully functional by August.

Wish me luck!!  And as always – thank you for your encouragement and support!

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Contest Prep, Teaching

2017 Prep Update: Day 350- the “Suckiest” Phase to Date is Almost Over

What started as “My 275 Day Project”, ended up becoming a year-long project and is ending with the most difficult phase I’ve ever had as a bodybuilder.  However, even though I’m going to describe the obstacles, please keep in mind that I’m working hard to keep it all framed as a big-fat-life-lesson.  At some point in the future, the objective of the lesson that I’m learning right now will be clearer in the review-view mirror.

After my July show, even though I was satisfied with my progress, I was just a little shy of the conditioning I had envisioned.  If I started my off-season at that point, it would be two years before I could make another run at that goal.  Looking ahead, there is a show scheduled for October 7th, which is the Saturday at the end of my school district’s week-long fall break.  So I decided to keep going with this prep and see how much I could improve between July and October.

I knew there would be new challenges because it was the first time I started a school year while still prep.  And I’ve never competed twice in one season, so I’m pushing my body-fat to a lower point than I’ve ever had.  For my July show, I did appear to be at my leanest body-composition to date.  Deciding to diet for another two and a half months meant that I would doing something I’ve never attempted in the past.  When this is finished, my prep will be 359 days long.  This is natural bodybuilding – it’s a marathon.

I have been apprehensive about sharing this part of my prep publicly because, even though I’m doing everything naturally using the same science the general population needs to use to loose fat, I’m pushing it much farther than is advised for the general population.  Please note that I have professional supervision and it ONLY for my sport.  I do not intend to maintain this level of leanness for very long.  I just wanted to see if I could do it.  My recovery coming out of this prep will also be supervised.

Add to that a career timing issue – this is my 22nd year of teaching and I’m 55 years old.  I have another career goal and not too much time left before I will want to retire, so I need to start working on setting things in motion.  When it’s ready, I’ll share more details, but hubby and I decided that I need to start working on setting up a side business that would grow while I was still teaching and be ready to replace my income when I do retire from teaching.  I’m really excited about it and made a plan to have someone hold me accountable each week for getting certain tasks done to keep things progressing.

After a couple of weeks into this last leg of the prep, with school starting, the work on the side-business starting,  life did what life does.  Boulder-sized obstacles started dropping from the sky.  Hubby needed to be hospitalized the weekend before school started for a sneaky and severe pneumonia.  He remained in the hospital for 6 days and I missed the first two days of school.  (He is fine now, even though he is still on the mend.)  If you’re a teacher, you know that the start of a school year is bumpy anyway, so pushing myself physically, changing my schedule around to deal with life, and having handle the first week of school took a toll.

The first month, I was just putting out fires and dealing with whatever needed to be handled that day.  The whole time, I never missed a lift, never missed a cardio, and followed the diet protocol.  But eventually, because of the caloric deficit and lack of sleep, I got run down a little and picked up a “little” bug from the kiddos.  Wasn’t really little.  Felt like it at first, but after about a week of no change, I started using some sick days and headed to Urgent Care.  A gnarly sinus-infection was making itself at home in my head.  Took a few days on antibiotics and a lot of rest before I could make it through a whole day at work.  Luckily, I had some energy in the mornings and could keep up with my training for all but two days.  But I needed a lot of rest and had to bring calories up for a few days.

So now, we are 9 days out from the competition and I’m getting back on track.  I’ve decided to finish this thing the best way I can and not be too concerned about hitting the original ‘leanness’ goal I set last July.  This week, I’m not trying to do anything epic in the gym.  I dropped my loads and increased my reps.   Coach sent me my peak week protocol that will start tomorrow.  That fall break I mentioned before starts tomorrow and I need it.  NEED.  IT.

Just when I thought I navigated around the last obstacle, they keep a’coming!  My workout logging app was not compatible with the new iPad IOS upgrade, so I’ve just lost 4 years of data.  OK, that’s a first-world-problem and not really a catastrophe, but it’s annoying.   I might be able to fix it, but I think the better approach is to accept it as a sign that I need a fresh start.  I’m going to get a new gym planner today and start tracking with paper/pencil again, with a backup on a spreadsheet.  It will be good. Old-school.

Yesterday, Facebook reminded me of a photo I posted with a student from 2011.  This Facebook memory was a blessing to me yesterday.  (The second picture is a progress picture sent to my coach recently.  Sorry, but I don’t do hair and makeup except on show days.  Most of the time I look like I just got up or just worked out.)  Reminded me of how far I’ve come.  I’m also a bit blown away by how human biology responds to simple, positive changes in nutrition and smart, safe lifting programming.  I know it’s science, but the results come from consistency.  And, for me, the consistency comes from a spiritual place.  The mental game is the hardest.  I use a lot of prayer and inspirational audio books  to keep me going.  I. AM. GRATEFUL.  Humbled a little, too.  It’s hard to look at this and not tear up.

Not sure if I’ll write again before the show on the 7th.  When I have pictures, I’ll share those here or on the Facebook page.  This time around, there is nothing in my mind about placings – this one is about just getting it done.  I suspect the next time I do a year-long prep, it will be easier because I will know what to expect.

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Filed under My Lifting Log