Tag Archives: goals

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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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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