Tag Archives: goals

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

The “Shit Sandwich” & Other Lessons From Elizabeth Gilbert

This week, some big ideas from unrelated parts in my brain crashed together in a perfect storm of temporary enlightenment.  An email conversation over a few days with my coach about goal setting happened while I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic.  This isn’t a book review – I’m just sharing a couple of things I’ve discovered listening to this book that helped me.

For a couple months now, I’ve explored the shame I felt when I competed last July.  If I don’t deal with it, I won’t be able to compete again because I know there will be an anxiety attack of epic proportions.  For those of you who are familiar with her work, one of Brené Brown’s books has already been listened to – twice.  (I’m sure I’ll listen to it a couple more times). There have been a couple of Wayne Dyer’s books, too, and a couple from authors not so well-known.  Each of these books have given me something I can use to evolve my mental game, just like lifting transformed my physique.

She Called it “The Shit Sandwich”

Ms. Gilbert referred to the sacrifices required to make time to be creative while still being a responsible person as eating “the shit sandwich” for your particular endeavor.  It means that that there will be parts of the process that aren’t fun or convenient, but need to happen.  She gave examples of now famous authors who made the time to write, working other jobs, before they were able to make a living as a writer.  She mentioned Toni Morrison and JK Rowling specifically.   She said we need to be willing to do the inconvenient stuff.

Someday, I’d like to be an author, but right now, that’s not where my creativity is focused.  I don’t expect people to understand it, but bodybuilding is where I feel creative.  I work on it daily.  Lifting, food, rest are my tools.   It’s my sculpture.  I’m working on this one project.   I add to it, sometimes work on details, and I walk around wearing it.  I’m happy to do the hard stuff for my craft – “the shit sandwich” of early morning workouts, getting by on less sleep, saving money to pay for it, and the periods of strict nutrition.  But there are other parts of bodybuilding that feel like it’s not worth it.  I do think about these things.  I work on balance.  And I repeatedly ask myself “why do I need to do this?”  It’s a simple answer.  It brings me joy.

Rejection?

When I step on stage, my “art” is being judged.  Last July, my sculpture was the best it’s been, but I lost sight of that fact.  The table of folks below the stage judged my work as inferior.  (Have I told you what happened?  I don’t remember.  When I was moved after the first symmetry round, I wasn’t just moved to what would be a last place position in my own class.  Women’s open and novice classes were brought out together.  I was in the open.  When I was moved, I was moved away from the open class to the other side of the novice class.   I was far stage right, not being compared to anyone during the mandatory poses.  I did not see a single judge look at me during front-facing poses.  I knew I just earned my third last place finish in three shows.  I fought hard to keep my inner demons quiet the whole time I was on stage.  My photographer husband was next to the stage, so I posed for the pictures.  Those are the only pictures where I’m smiling.)  The reflective work I’ve been doing – listening to books, absorbing ideas, applying some, rejecting others – has helped begin to build the mental foundation that I thought was strong enough to withstand what happened on stage that day.  I wasn’t ready.  I need to be sturdier to do what I’m attempting to do – a competitive female bodybuilder in open classes even though I’m in my 50’s – because I don’t want to be caught off guard on stage like that again.  I can’t control where they move me, but I can control how I react to being moved.  I can control who’s opinion matters more to me on that day.  Mine.  Period.

As I mentioned, there were several emails with Coach last week about goal-setting.  He knows what I’m working on.  We’ve also agreed that I need to complete this work before I can compete again.  He gently steered me towards setting goals about personal progression.  Thought about it.   Turns out, that doesn’t work for me.  I see progression as a logical outcome of smart programming and consistency.  So if I’m going to make sacrifices, expect my husband to sacrifice, spend money on this, I need another big scary goal.  I made a list of the big scary goals I’ve set and achieved, even though they seemed hard or impossible when set.  After a few days of sitting with it, mulling it over, and acknowledging that my experience last summer had landed me in a depressing place called “reality”, Coach helped me find the words to set the next big  scary goal…

Last. Woman. Standing.

(Which means I want to win an overall, earn a pro-card, and compete at a national show.  I’ve always wanted this, but three last place finishes has made it seem too naive to hang on to.  It’s still naive and unrealistic.  So what?  I’ve been disappointed already and know what that feels like.  I didn’t set a time limit.  Just owning the dream.)

This one needs a new name.  It will now be called the Big-Scary-Hairy-Improbable-But-I’m-Going-For-It-Anyway Goal.  I honestly believe I will continue to improve and will present a better sculpture each time I compete no matter what.  I have a good work-ethic and a supportive and smart coach.  But it’s no longer about how hard I work anymore, is it?  This goal will fuel my work regardless.  This is “Fire-in-the-belly” sort of stuff.

I listened to Ms. Gilbert addressed rejection and it occured to me that I can learn a lot from writers about judging and rejection.  This passage resonated with me…

“No doesn’t always mean no.  Never surrender.  Miraculous turns of fate can happen to those who persist in showing up.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

So that’s the plan.  I’ll keep showing up.

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Motivation

Show Pictures and Reflection: Subtracting Negatives is Addition

You have already seen some of the gorgeous pictures my husband took at my show.  (He did the ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots for our team and the really nice ones of me on stage.)  In this post, I want to share the pictures that were taken by the show’s photographer.   I’m using all the pictures to evaluate my performance, celebrate my progress, and identify things I want to improve so I can set new goals.

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to sort out the emotions and get some perspective.  Coach has had to work a bit to help me process some things.  It helps somewhat to learn that many competitors go through a similar mental process after a competition.  The farther I get away from it, that doesn’t surprise me.  We train hard, we diet hard, we invest so much in this ‘hobby’.  Perspective is easily lost.  Two weeks later, I’m starting to feel more like myself.  And for those who are thinking it – yes, it is worth it to me.  Competitive bodybuilding tests me physically, intellectually, and emotionally.   But it also provides a structure to my life that keeps me physically and emotionally healthy.  It’s a paradox.

My previous goals were to come to this show leaner and with more muscle than I had at my previous shows.  I accomplished both – not bad for a 50-something, post-menopausal, high school teacher who’s only been lifting for five years, huh?  And for that, I need to give credit to my coach, Alberto Nunez at 3D Muscle Journey.  Freaking brilliant programming and prep protocol.  Remember – we never went low-carb and I didn’t cut water.

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Coach Nunez and I finally met in person! Thank you, Berto!!

It’s important  to remind myself that I accomplished those goals on stage at a big show, in the open class of female bodybuilders with more competitors standing on that stage than I’ve ever had before.  People flew in from other states, other countries in order to participate in this show.   You will see the pictures below, my personal critique will follow, but it’s important to remember that I’m happy with the results and proud of what I’ve accomplished in a short amount of time.  The size of this show and the caliber of the other competitors were a bit intimidating, but as my coach said, I “looked like I belonged up there”.  After I saw the pictures my husband took, I thought “I look like a bodybuilder”.  When I got these pictures this week and I could see how I looked in the line, I think I looked OK considering the experience of the ladies up there with me. (The woman who won was a figure pro in a different federation.)

Here are slideshows documenting my inaugural appearance in the open class of female bodybuilding.

These are just me:

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These are Me vs. Me:

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These are the entire open class at pre-judging.  (The young lady in purple next to me was the only novice competitor.  She is 17.  So, the oldest, a high school teacher, and the youngest, a high school student, female competitors were lined up together – how cool is that?  Well, I thought it was, anyway. A nice memory for me.)

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Post Game Analysis – Time to “Subtract the Negatives”

I’ve spent too much time focused on the “negatives” of this experience.  I lived in that negative place for a few days.  One day this week, I remembered – removing negatives is the same thing as addition.  I can turn these negatives into something positive.  (I’m a math teacher – go with it.  Hahaha!)  When I reflected on the show and looked at these pictures, I identified the “negatives” that need to be removed in order to “add” to my progress as a bodybuilder:

  • Symmetry is a negative.   My pelvis is too wide.  My waist is too wide.   But I can’t change my skeleton.  Stalled?  No.  To remove this negative, I will need to create the appearance of a smaller midsection by increasing the size of myi delts, my upper back, and my legs.  I can address some of this with posing, too.
  • I screwed up the timing of my pre-stage feeding.  It’s a bit tricky to figure out when you’re going to be called to get on stage.  I got the first couple of meals that day in on time.  The last one was supposed to be a candy bar about an hour before stage.  The first part of pre-judging went by quite slowly.  I thought I had more time, but things sped up a bit and I ended up shoving that candy in while I was pumping up.  Big mistake.  Should have just skipped it at that point.  When the sugar hit, I was on the third quarter turn of the first symmetry round.  My blood pressure dropped, I had a dizzy spell, and I spent the rest of the pre-judging time trying to not faint.  I was trying to save energy by not smiling on every pose.  I’m sure that’s also why I forgot some of my posing ques.  I couldn’t hear my coach or my teammates in the audience because there were a lot of people in the front rows yelling.  The negative to remove is to do a better job of tracking the progression of the show and getting my food in me at the right time.  This was the first time I’ve had this pre-stage feeding protocol, so now that I’ve done it once, the next time should run a bit smoother.
  • Posing – I did not hit some important poses well.  I did better with posing during my practices, but forgot several ques when I was on stage.  Even had I been at my best posing, I don’t think I practiced posing in a way that would create the appearance of better symmetry.  That is something I will need to figure out and practice.
  • Body Composition – I still had fat on my lower abdomen and glutes.  Totally fine for life, so please don’t think I’m calling myself “fat”, but I wasn’t lean enough for stage.  To achieve stage-leanness for the competition,  I need to be able to maintain a lower body weight through the off-season so that when I start my next fat loss phase, whenever Coach decides that is going to be, the precious stored fat in those areas will slowly go away.  So far, I’ve only gained 3-4 pounds since the show.  I’m supposed to maintain this weight now.  When we started my cut back in Sept 2014, I was about 157 lbs.  The morning of the show, I weighed about 128.5.  Now the plan is to keep my scale weight between 130 and 135 lbs during the off-season.

What’s Next?

I do not plan to compete again until at least 2017.  I will be 55 that year.  I have a lot of work to do to subtract the negatives.  Life loses a bit of balance during prep, too.  That’s not fair to Hubby or my students.  But I’m a competitor.  I’m happiest when I’ve got a goal to work towards.  Now that I’ve been on the Mayhem stage, I have a vision of being on it again, but he next time, I will have fewer negatives.  I’m excited to get back to work.  If Berto’s programming can do what it did in the first 18 months of our collaboration, I’m 100% confident about what we can do now that we’ve developed a solid foundation for our athlete/coach relationship.  I’m enthusiastic about what my 55-year-old self will be able to accomplish.

It was a fun day overall.  I’ve had more fun on stage before – that is true.  The dizzy spell during pre-judging was a bit scary.  And the anxiety attack I had the day before was not fun for me – really not fun for my husband.  But Hubby did a good job to find humor in the situation and calmed me down.  On show day, there were 16 of my 3DMJ teammates competing that day, so the atmosphere backstage was like a reunion.  We all met up for dinner afterwards – I think there were 40+ people there?  Competitors, coaches, significant others, friends, and former competitors all together to eat too much, share stories, and laugh.  I had a great time, got to meet people I’ve only interacted with online, and made new friends with people I’d never meet in real life if not for this competition.  A special day with great memories.

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Oh – and I almost forgot – here is my night show routine.  The song is “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling.

Photo Credits: KodaMax Photography and Better Aesthetics Bodybuilding

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7 Weeks Out – Body Builder Brain

  • I’m too small.
  • I won’t get lean enough.
  • I’m too busy and can’t practice enough.
  • I don’t have a routine yet, so I haven’t been practicing that, either.
  • I don’t know where I put my posing suit.
  • Maybe I should just skip this year, too?
  • I lost my pecs.
  • My right calf is too small.
  • Tanning, makeup??  Where IS my suit???
  • I’m 53.  Guys in their 40’s are talking about being old – and I’m just starting??  What the hell am I thinking?  No one is going to take me seriously.  I’m a joke.
  • I am a wife.  I have a demanding job – people depend on me.  I don’t have time for this!  What the hell am I thinking?

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And all of this happened while I was on a diet break.  Five days this week of eating at maintenance – which means I increased my food intake just enough to maintain my weight.  Gave my body a break from the stress of dieting.  And it is stressful.  Body is basically chewing up it’s own reserves to keep functioning.  When in a caloric deficit over time, brain doesn’t have enough energy to handle stress well – which is why dieters can be so much fun to be around!

I think the diet break was stressful for me because I’m feeling the time crunch now.  7 weeks.  Less than 2 months.  It’s already a stressful time because I’m finishing up a school year in a new building.  I can’t bring work home.  Training, resting, food prep, and life just doesn’t allow for that anymore.  But there are piles of things to grade, final exams to write, study guides to write, lesson plans for kids who don’t want to work – classroom management is hard right now.  Most of my students are seniors. They are excited and stressed about graduating and making the transition to adulthood.  So I’m picking up on all the anxiety around me trying to not let it add to my own anxiety about getting everything done.

During this diet break, I maintained my scale weight better than I have on previous breaks.  I kept the calories under my burn because the BodyBugg I wear is probably over-reporting the burn right now.  I’m smaller so it takes less energy to move my mass through space.  Processes adapt over time to use fewer calories when in a deficit situation.  On the first day of the diet break, I noticed I wasn’t as tired at the end of the day.  That’s a big clue that I needed to take the break, huh?  I was ready for it, but I only wanted to do two days.  When Coach said to do five days, I was surprised.

I was also surprised at how emotionally tough it was to eat more for those five days.  I didn’t have this reaction to diet breaks before.  It’s just my Bodybuilder Brain.  I was happy to get back on the diet yesterday.  I missed Hungry.  Hungry = Progress.  It’s not comfortable, true.  It sucks some days, actually.  But it’s necessary and it means I’m moving forward instead of standing still in my prep.

Now, I’m hungry again.  So I’m happy.  Moving forward and excited to be back on the ‘growling tummy grind’.  Today.  Let’ revisit that “happy to be hungry” BS in a week, shall we?  Hahahaha!

Bodybuilder Brain also needs to be managed.  It’s normal, but it cannot be allowed to run amok because one of my goals for this prep was to enjoy it.  There are some things I can do to stay calm and centered.

1) Keep involvement with social media to a minimum.  I do better if I focus on what I need to do and avoid looking at what others are doing.  We’ve talked about that before over on the FB page.  My “teacher voice” starts screaming when I see some of the things I see.  (I’m going to refer those kids to the office for dress code violations.)

2) Go outside.  Often.

3) Read more.

4) Sleep more.

5) Get caught up at work and ride the year out with as little effort as possible.

6) Find my suit!

7) Just keep grinding.  Embrace the suck.  I like it.  I like the self-discipline.  I like delayed gratification.

 

8) Keep perspective – yeah, sure, I’m getting on stage to be judged.  Risking public humiliation, intorvert’s nightmare… yada, yada, yada.  But it’s actually easier than you would imagine.  It’s mostly just fun. The audiences at these shows are bodybuilding fans.  They either know what it’s like to do it, wish they could do it, are family and friends of competitors, etc.  I get more stressed thinking about the travel, the makeup, the tanning – all of that stuff.  Stage is fun.

 9) Blog more.  It takes time, but writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions.  I’ve been using it that way for the last five years.  This prep is different than the last two.  It’s been fun, for the most part.  Life has been nuts for the last year, so the structure of this prep and working with this coach have helped me stay sane.  However, these last 7 weeks could be…interesting.  

 

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Contest Prep, Life, Opinions

An Update

So the first week of my 52nd year was a little bumpy.  During this second week, the dust is settling.

Hubby is home and recuperating.  His healing will take time, but I’m grateful he is home to do that healing.

My coach reviewed all the data and he liked my progress pictures.  He reminded me that the DXA info doesn’t tell the whole story.  I’ve tightened up a bit in the last three months.  I am not competing again until summer 2015, so I have a lot of time to improve.  I got a great pep talk and a new training protocol that reduced my workouts from five to four a week.  That is a good thing right now.  There is more to do since I’m trying to pick up a little of what my husband normally does – and that’s really impossible since he does a ton of stuff every day.

Sleep is still a goal, but it’s probably not a reasonable one every day right now.  No worries about that are allowed.  If I’m tired, I don’t mind.  It’s going to be OK.  What I’m focused on at the moment is living in the moment – take each day as it comes.  I will not worry.  When I put my mind to it, I can compartmentalize things pretty well.  Every so often, I let all the things pile up in my head (insurance, medical bills, lesson plans, grading, etc.) and then stress over the pile of poo, but when I’m in crisis mode, I just handle the next thing and not think too far ahead.

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Filed under Life

2014. What to do? What to do?

I would like to thank you for following along with my journey.  This blog is important to me.  This is “me”.  The Facebook page is a different animal.  It’s too…temporary.  Stuff gets buried in the feed.  A post on the page is a lot like fireworks – fun but short-lived.  It’s cool for what it is, but the blog is more satisfying.  If I find a blog I like, I have easy access to a ton of content.  I know some of you have read everything I’ve written, and for that, you have no idea how honored I am.  Humbly…   ThAnK YoU!!

I want to write today because it’s the first day of a new year, but for the life of me, I don’t have anything profound to say.

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I don’t make resolutions.  I set goals when they need to be made and then I do a ton of work to get the thing done.  To me, every day is a new opportunity to progress.  I do need some concrete, measurable goals.  I just don’t know what they are going to be yet.  Ugh.  Frustrating.

But if I had to describe what I think 2014 will be about, I’d say GROWTH.

First, I’d like to work on my marriage.  We have a good one, but a relationship is always a work on progress.  There are things I’ve promised I would do and I haven’t done yet.  I need to fix that.  A promise to him is a vow in my heart.  I’d like that relationship to grow deeper.

I’m not planning on competing again until 2015.  My goal is to look better on stage than I did in June 2013.  By better I mean I want it to be such a dramatic difference that I blow my own mind.  I need more muscle, I need that muscle to be denser, I need to be leaner, I want to pose better, and have a better routine.  I’m willing to invest an entire year working towards those things.  I’m going to gather input from new sources.  I might even take a dance class.  I don’t know why I don’t make specific goals about moving a certain weight on specific exercises (like squat x pounds for y reps).  Maybe I need to reflect on that.  It might be helpful to me to do that.  Now that I type that…I think that would be very helpful to me.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

I’m training and coaching a few people.  Of course I’d like to grow my business, but there is a limit to how much I can handle while I’m teaching full time.  And retirement looks like it is something that won’t happen soon.  So I’d like to grow my client base slowly so when I do retire, I’m ready to jump into a new adventure.

I’m always grateful for the new opportunities that come along – opportunities to learn and to share what I’ve learned already.  I suspect more of that is coming in the near future.

Not sure what 2014 will bring, but I know I’m happy to be here.  Happy to be able to work hard and workout harder.

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A very bad picture, I know. But that bicep pump yesterday, in that light, made me all proud like a mom watching a kid do a recital.

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Life, Motivation

Today’s Workout

Week 2 of strong woman training began today.  After one week, I feel like I got hit by a car.  Wow.  This is hard.

Today was a Monday, so that meant it was a heavy day.  Monday is supposed to be 90% of my max lift, but I’ve decided to just go for it and lift as much as I can.  The rest of the week is based on what I do on Monday.  On Thursday’s, I will lift 70% of  my max, and on Saturday’s, I’ll lift 50-60% of my max.  The next Monday, I’m going to bump the weights up again.  I am pleased with how much more I was able to do today as opposed to a week ago.  That’s just a change in attitude.  I was more afraid that week.

I’m supposed to do assistance work on the days in between.  Last week, I barely did anything.  I needed the rest.  I think that will be the case tomorrow, too.  I’ve been sitting or laying down most of the time since this workout.  Again – a car must have hit me.  Wow.

This is what I did today…

7/15/13  Log Press (max wt last week = 65 lbs, two sets)
10:22:34 AM  50 x 3
10:23:28 AM  60 x 3
10:28:49 AM  70 x 2.5
10:32:19 AM  70 x 2  Couldn’t press the third rep again – drop the weight
10:39:05 AM  65 x 3

7/15/13  One Arm Press (max wt last week = 35 lbs, 1 set)
10:39:15 AM  25 x 3
10:43:33 AM  35 x 3  2 on right side
10:43:38 AM  35 x 3  2.5 on right side. Got my elbow sleeve
10:47:06 AM  35 x 3

I did another set with the 35’s, but forgot to record it.  Five sets total.
7/15/13  Farmer’s Walk (max wt last week = 60 lbs, 1 set)
11:04:18 AM  85 x 40  Used the proper Farmer’s Carry weights outside. Wrapped my wrists, too.
11:06:31 AM  85 x 50
11:09:34 AM  85 x 50
11:13:51 AM  85 x 50  Tried to pick up 115s. Decided I will need my belt since 230 lbs is actually a heavier weight than I’ve ever picked up off the ground before. Something to look forward to trying next week.
11:17:53 AM  85 x 50

I was only supposed to do three sets of this, but I forgot and did five sets.
7/15/13  Tire Flips (I used the next biggest tire.  There were three about the same size.  The first one I tried to work with I couldn’t grip because the treads were flat against the ground.  After about 5 minutes messing around with it, a guy showed me the one I ended up using.  Guessing the weight.  The guys who work at the gym don’t know for sure.   Since the last one was about 300, I’m hoping this was the 400 lb tire I’m supposed to be able to flip at the competition.  The one bigger than this one is really big.  Scary big.)
11:53:09 AM  400 x 5
11:53:19 AM  400 x 5
11:56:44 AM  400 x 5

The "little" one weighs 400 pounds.

The “little” one weighs 400 pounds.  The tire on the left is taller than me.

7/15/13  Keg Carry (Same keg I used last week.  It’s the lightest one there.  I didn’t try to place it on the platform.  I need some coaching for how to do that when the weight is this heavy.)
12:00:53 PM  125 x 40 steps
12:06:57 PM  125 x 40
12:07:02 PM  125 x 40
12:09:10 PM  125 x 40
12:11:54 PM  125 x 40

I’m supposed to do 15 keg carries.  I couldn’t do that.  Workout was already almost two hours long at this point.

The smallest keg to play with is the one with the blue tape on the top - 125 lbs, I'm told.

The smallest keg to play with is the one with the blue tape on the top – 125 lbs, I’m told.

7/15/13  Sled Pull
12:28:36 PM  145 x 2 (one “rep” is about 20 yards – down and back is 2 reps)
12:32:27 PM  185 x 2
12:36:09 PM  235 x 2

235 pound on that sled.

235 pound on that sled.

Both upper arms are bruised from the tire flips.  My legs are bruised and scraped from the keg carries.  I almost whacked my chin twice during the log press.  This is a rough workout.  But it’s challenging me and I believe it will produce results that are consistent with my goals for off season – build muscle, speed up my metabolism, and stay lean.  It’s been three weeks since my show and I have only gained my water weight back, even though I’m eating more.  Perfect.  Much better than last year.

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I get very dirty when I play outside.

I am beat.  Beat up and tired.  I’m heading to bed.  So sore that sleep might be tough – this might be an Advil PM night.

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Filed under My Lifting Log, Strong Woman Training, Workouts