Category Archives: Bodybuilding Journal

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.  

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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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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Life, Teaching

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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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Teaching

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