Tag Archives: introvert

2017 Prep Update: Day 260 out of 275 – Two weeks left?!?! OMG. OMG. OMG.


If you think you know why I’m freaking out, you might be wrong.

I’m an introvert.  I can honestly say that getting on stage in a posing suit smaller than my underwear doesn’t bother me as much as you might assume.  I go out there, they call the poses and I do the poses.  I’m don’t wear my glasses, the stage lights are bright, so even though I can hear people, I can’t see many – just the judges and the front row.  And honestly, I’m so used to tuning out “teenager noise”, I really don’t hear anything except what I’m paying attention to – which will be the head judge’s instructions.  It’s just me and a few other nice women doing this thing.  No big deal.  This will be my 4th time, so I can visualize it.   I can prepare.  I practice every day.  I know what to expect.

Sure, I’ll have some nerves about it this time as it gets closer because of what happened before, but I think I can be ready for that.  Today, that’s not what makes me nuts thinking about competing.  It’s my introversion.  Everything about competing, except the stage, are things I actively avoid in life because they make me really uncomfortable, jumpy, and drain me.

If any of these things resonate with you, please leave a comment!  I could sure use a reminder that even though it is unlikely that we introverts will ever be in a room together, you understand my struggle.


  1. Driving to a big city that has big city traffic.
  2. Organizing everything so I won’t forget anything. (The “to do” lists need to start being written down now.  I can’t keep it in my head without going crazy.)
  3. People.  Nothing I do is more “peopley” than a show.  People everywhere.  People I don’t know. Bored people waiting for their turn who just want to visit because they aren’t introverts.
  4. The competition spray tan.  It’s gross.  It’s uncomfortable. It stinks.  It’s inconvenient. The first layer goes on Friday night, so you have live in it,  sleep in it, which means you need special clothes to wear that you can wreck but won’t wreck the tan, a set of sheets dedicated to sleep in for a couple nights.  And I can’t find my sheets.  I need to head to the thrift store.  I would also like to look for another crappy tanning track suit.
  5. The backstage scheduling is never set.  Need to pay attention to when you are called to pump up to go out.  Before that, eat what you’re supposed to eat at a given time based on that time you don’t know – make sure your tan and glaze are touched up before that…I’m a teacher.  I’m a professional PLANNER.  Not knowing these things makes me nuts.
  6. Hurry up and wait backstage = people.  Talking and stuff.  Socializing, small talk.  NIGHTMARE!
  7. Did I burn the CD with my routine music?  Nope.  Add that to the list.  Oh, and make a few CDs and put them in different places so that when I lose one, which I will, I’ll have backups.  Ugh.
  9. Make up and hair??  Ugh.  I think I’ll have them just spray my face again like last time.  Throw on some mascara and lipstick and that’ll be it.  Hair?  Well, that’s kind of already taken care of with the half-shaved head, right?  Can’t go wrong there.  Back comb and hairspray is all that I’ll need to do.

I do have a few people coming who I’m looking forward to seeing.  My plan is to honor my introversion this time around.  If I’m not with the one or two people who I’m comfortable with, I’ll find a quiet corner, listen to music or an audio book,  and try to keep my internal batteries charged.  Hell, I’d bring my crochet bag except that the stupid tan would get all over the yarn!

CRAP!  Batteries?  Cell phone battery!   I’m going to have to add “bring remote charger” to my list of things not to forget.  Every available outlet in the backstage area will be jammed up.



This last week was a deload week at the gym.  Nothing too exciting.  I spent more time practicing posing and doing cardio than lifting.  Got the plan from coach for the last two weeks and everything starts to wind down now.  I forgot – peaking with my coach is like a vacation compared to how I like to do life normally.  No one peaks an athlete better than Alberto Nunez in my opinion.  It’s all about reducing stress while using science with macros to bring his athlete up from looking like a flat tire to looking like a bodybuilder.  The guy is a “macro-whisperer” when it comes to peak week.  And we don’t cut water.  Should mention that because many competitors do.

Scale continues to drop.  We expect that to continue based on what happened the last time we peaked for a show.  This morning, I hit Alberto’s stage weight goal, so I think he needs to revise that.  I’m one pound away from my personal “aggressive” goal – so we’re probably coming in leaner than either one of us expected.

So other than the stress of having to “people” and “drive” and do other things that stress introverts, my goal is to reduce physical stress as much as possible.  The last week of summer school is next week.  All the work for that is done – kids are just finishing it up.  The final exam has been submitted for copying.  Next Friday at noon, I’ll grade the exam, issue grades for the semester, log-off, lock the door, and walk away until the end of the month.

And I’m about 90% sure I’ll do a second show in October.  At least we can plan for it.  These things are a little expensive, so if something comes up and I can’t swing it, that’ll be ok.  I’ll have photographer hubby do a photoshoot instead.  We should do that anyway.  He has some cool costumes around here.


Filed under My Lifting Log

An Update and A Few Anniversaries

I haven’t updated the blog in a long time, so if you’re here looking for some wisdom or advice, I’m sorry.  Not feeling it today.  We have two weeks of classes left before final exams and I’m wound a bit tight worried about getting kids ready to finish the semester strong.  The job has been – uh – challenging for the last month.  I’m a bit overwhelmed.

Training has been going well since Coach Berto modified my program a little.  I tried to make the first program he gave me work, but I couldn’t finish the workouts during the week – just didn’t have enough time.   I also needed a little more recovery time for some body parts.  After a couple of months of that, I found myself not enjoying my gym time.  I felt like I was too distracted trying to check things off a list.  It felt more like work.  I lift for several reasons, but most days, it’s how I manage stress.   It wasn’t fun when I ran short of time and couldn’t finish.  Now I can finish the workouts and I’m recovering well.

Definitely gaining – fat, sure, but it looks like there could be some lean mass in there, too.  A little.  After five years of lifting, the amount of muscle I can gain now isn’t going to be that dramatic.  Coach calls this an “improvement season” instead of an “off-season”.  I’m supposed to be making improvements.  And in my over-achieving fashion, I’m attacking this “improvement” thing from several fronts.

For a couple months now, I haven’t been tracking or logging food.   It’s been fun and scary.  Controlling food intake has been part of my life since 2009.  It’s time to learn how to feed myself to maintain my weight without being dependent on taking data.  I haven’t done a good job eating intuitively.  I’ve been eating too much.  And even though I’m still learning, I believe the over-feeding is why I’ve been recovering well and why I’ve gained a little muscle.  For the first couple months after my competition, I logged and was careful.  Supervised, I gained weight back slowly.  I did not rebound.  Today, I’m 20 pounds heavier than I was on stage in July.  I’m not comfortable at this weight, but I’m also not alarmed.  It has come back slowly and most of it was deliberate.  The last five pounds I’ve gained are the five pounds that make me feel uncomfortable.  I will track and log food for a little while to see what’s what and then pull things back to maintenance for a while.

While working on the physical, I’m still exploring ways to strengthen my psychology. There are a few things about my mental game that are not helping me.  What happened at my show in July rocked me. (Details withheld on purpose.) I panicked the night before – that’s not a secret.  Got past that, and then I felt humiliated at pre-judging.  For a few weeks after, I was disillusioned.   From what I’ve learned lately, there may be an element of shame to be dealt with, too.  Maybe it’s connected to being an introvert.  I love the process and I want to compete, but stage has not been an empowering experience for me.  (I’m only talking about the competition itself -the rest of the experience was wonderful.)  The more I learn and reflect, I think that show in July was the most courageous thing I’ve done in a long time.  So I need to work through things before I get back on stage again.  I love bodybuilding so much that I can’t imagine not competing, but I need to do this inner work, too.

It’s an interesting phase in my transformation.  Inside out – outside in.  Not going to get into details of the work I’m doing here – it’s a bit too personal.  Grateful to my husband, coach, and friends who are helping me process things by listening.

I wrote before that I was listening to the book, “The Power”.  Since then I’ve found myself pulled towards other books, each one was found by something that was said in the previous one that resonated with me.  After “The Power”, I listened to “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, “The Power of Intention” by Wayne Dyer, “Power vs Force” by David Hawkins, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” another by Wayne Dyer, “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown, and now am listening to “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen Laney.   I’m surprised by the number of books I’ve been able to get through.  Apparently, I’m a good multi-tasker.  I think that’s got something to do with being a teacher (ya think?)  I’m learning a lot.  Not all of it pertains to bodybuilding.  Some of the things will make me a better wife and a better teacher.  Much of it needs to just sit in my brain and stew.

The Anniversaries:

  • This Week: 20th wedding anniversary
  • Last week: 2 years with Coach Berto
  • Today: 25 years since my mother died.  It’s hard to imagine that people have been born and grown into adults in the time that has passed since I last saw my mom.

My introvertness is all flared up right now – words have moved beyond my reach.  It’s time to mentally shut down and re-charge my batteries.  My day tomorrow will be jammed with activity and noise.

Kettlebell Lateral Raises: 265 sets, 2762 reps, 4588 lbs…I see delts.  My back likes to grow and that’s cool.  But delts are being built the old fashioned way.



Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, My Lifting Log

Introvert Eats Ego

I know.  I know.  I KNOW!  But sometimes, I can’t help it.

Despite appearances – blog, a Facebook page, competing, I am an introvert.  I don’t interact with many people online or in person.  When I do explore and see what others are doing, like I did this morning, I never get jealous about appearances, but I do get jealous about lifting.  My initial response is “Yay you!!”  And then sometimes, it turns inward in an unhelpful way.  It’s inspiring if they are advanced lifters, but when I see women doing things I should be able to do – like squat anything over 130 pounds, I get bummed.  I have a few things I do pretty well, but cable pulldowns aren’t really all that sexy in the lifting world.   I get a little attention because of my age and that I didn’t quit.  And neither of those things impress me much.  I still have only been lifting for a few years and I am currently in an extended “improvement season”, which means I’m just putting in work.  Nothing truly exciting is going on.  I have a brand new Inzer lever belt I haven’t used because I don’t have heavy leg work in my program because I couldn’t do it.  So I’m putting in work to get to be able to do it in the future.  And it pisses me off when I see that belt just laying there in my car.  Waiting.  Heck – for a few weeks, I left it in the box it came in.  Just got it put together last week.  Now it’s riding around in my car.

I see people doing things I wish I could do and it’s a reminder that I’m really just average.  And getting older.  I haven’t been the new and shiny for a long time.   Feeling average and old – not reality, just feelings.  And then I see someone doing something I should be able to do, I look at what I’m posting, and my ego gets served up.  Ego on a plate.  Nom. Nom. Nom.  And that’s OK.  I’m an intermediate lifter now, I’m told.  Things will happen slower.  Things will be less dramatic.

I can’t lie – everyday I have to recommit to staying public because I think what I’m doing is a little boring and I’d like to just do the work and not be distracted.  I like to keep to myself – which is why blogging is better for me than Facebook.  But I am an average blogger – I’m not a funny blogger , I don’t have time to research so I’m not an informational blogger.  I’m not really doing anything here except documenting my journey.  The Facebook page is harder to keep up and maintain.  Trolls abound.  So much more negativity to deal with over there.  The videos are a little work to do, but the hardest part is putting those visuals up and hoping people don’t think I’m overly impressed with myself – which I definitely am not.  I think about the energy and the time I would save if I just stopped being public.

And then I remember why I don’t want to stop posting.

I remember what it felt like to walk into that gym when I believed I did not belong there.  I remember what it felt like to be embarrassed to have let myself get into that condition.  I remember how it felt to have to pay strangers to help me and trust that they knew what they were doing and weren’t just taking my money and going through the motions. (And that is why I get ENRAGED when I see bad training and bad coaching.  These women are trusting you, assholes, and you’re not even bothering to correct bad form and then dismiss science.  Just keep them emotionally dependent, usually injured,  eating almost nothing, doing hours of cardio, and guilt them when their metabolisms adapt and they stop losing weight – anything to keep them hooked into your ‘old school approach’.  I even saw a coach berate clients on his Facebook page for not following his ‘old school’ program.  Jerk.)  I remember how hard it was to change my daily life.  I remember the guilt I had because the people around me were basically forced to adjust their routines because of my decision.  It took a lot of courage and faith to do those things when body-image and self-confidence weren’t great.

Every time I get ready to quit being public, I hear from someone who borrowed some courage from me.

I don’t really care if I’m “inspirational”.  I don’t care how many people are following.  To be honest, it’s a lot of pressure to keep posting when I’m feeling very – average.  But there is something about what I’m doing that seems to be helpful, so unless something comes up that prevents me from keeping up the public part of my program, I’ll continue.  I guess I felt like I needed to say out loud that whenever my ego gets a little too inflated, there is a pin right there to pop it.  I still need a bit of courage to do what I do.

But if you need to borrow some, help yourself.  I don’t think it runs out.




Filed under Life, My Lifting Log, Opinions, Venting, Ranting

Bodybuilding is My Art

This thing I’m training to do (the bodybuilding show) scares me more than anything I’ve ever done.  So why am I doing it?  I can think of two reasons right now.

First, I’m an introvert.  I need to push myself to do things that scare me or else I will only think about doing things that scare me.  I’ve been pushing myself like that since my mom died in 1990.  And in 2009, I had a wake up call about my health when an anxiety attack put me in the ER because it felt like a heart attack.  Still, why do a bodybuilding show?  I was inspired by my friend Paula, who died too soon, but lived what seemed to me, to be a fearless life.  I wanted to be brave and fearless, too.  I’ve since learned that there is nothing “fearless” about living.  There is fear everyday.  The bravery comes from not letting insecurities and fears stop me.

The second reason is because the show is where I will display my art.  It’s my “opening night”.


I love this sculpture, but I want larger muscles.  

My passion for bodybuilding comes from the blend of art and science to sculpt something beautiful.  When I read that sentence back, it doesn’t sound exactly right.  How do I describe this?  It’s like everything below my neck is my medium – just like an artist has a medium, whether that be clay, granite, or canvas.  But it’s a much trickier medium to work because it has to be manipulated from the inside, at the cellular level, and it takes a very long time to carve out a part.  It’s not just the lifting that is my tool – it’s also the nutrition, the cardio, the sleep, the time, the planning, and the attitude.

Symmetry and proportion are major aesthetic components in bodybuilding.  My left calf is bigger than my right calf.  Some of the muscles on the left side of my back are larger than on the right.  I can fix this over time with adjustments in the training, but the point is that it takes time.  I can’t just slap some clay on my piece and even things out, can I?

Lifting changes the hormones in my body in ways that positively affect my blood pressure and brain chemistry.  I’m able to deal better with stress.  I’m happy.  I literally must workout in the morning to lower the cortisol levels that are naturally higher in the mornings.  That’s true for everyone, but in my body, those higher cortisol levels cause chest pains.  I can trigger a cortisol release just by thinking about it – in fact, it’s happening right now.  Morning is not a good time to have a conversation with me.  I can be stressed out right away until I get that first workout started.  That’s also why I need to workout again in the afternoon.  Release the stress of the day.  If I don’t keep the cortisol in check, it will metabolize muscle, which is basically like watching my work evaporate.

If I had my druthers, I’d have an opening night at a gallery with my work on display, but I’d be somewhere else.  Or sitting in a dark corner alone watching and listening to the people as they looked at my art.  But the reality is that my art is attached to my head, so watching from a corner probably won’t work.

I’ve never been moved to do a more traditional form of art.  I don’t draw, paint, or dance.  I don’t feel compelled to write about anything else, either.  Just this.  Bodybuilding is my art.

1 Comment

Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Cortisol, Motivation

In God’s Time

  • Week 153 on program.
  • 13 weeks out from show.
  • 3 weeks to weight goal of 128 pounds.
  • Current weight = 146.8 pounds.  (Uh oh.)

I am not making progress fast enough with the weight loss.  To hit that goal, I need to lose 6 pounds a week for the next three weeks.  Oh, that’s not going to happen.  Even when I was 200 pounds, 44 % body fat, I couldn’t lose 6 pounds a week.  And I wouldn’t want to.  That’s not a healthy weight loss.

The Bodybugg system is wonderful for logging and tracking calories.  I know it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s close.  I’ve been using it for almost 3 years, so it’s calibrated to me.

Over the last 70 days of my prep, I’ve burned 33,460 calories more than I’ve eaten.  The best case scenario is that my body used fat to make up that deficit, so I would have lost 9.56 pounds of fat.  Whether fat or muscle, the weight loss should have been closer to 9 pounds.  My real weight loss has only been 4.2 pounds.  The difference is 5 pounds and change.

Don’t get excited about “muscle gain” vs. “fat loss” here.  No mater what you might hear in supplement advertisements or what some trainers tell their clients to keep them motivated, women cannot gain more than a pound of muscle in a month naturally (ie without steroids) when they are TRYING to gain muscle by lifting heavy and eating more calories than they burn, which is certainly not what I’ve been doing.  (If you don’t believe me, do your own research. It’s all out there to be discovered.)  It is fantasy to think I’ve gained 5 pounds of muscle in two months.  (I don’t even think I could gain 5 pounds of muscle in two months on steroids!)  It took me a YEAR to gain 10 pounds of muscle – and that’s when I was eating over my burn and was fairly new to the game.  Newbies always have big gains in the beginning, but still not much more than a pound a month.

My deficit average has been about 500 calories a day.  To do what I was supposed to do to hit my goal weight by the end of June, I should have had a 1000 calorie deficit each day.  I chose not to go that high because I can’t afford to lose muscle this far out.  (I’ve had a couple of 900 deficit days because of the day being busy and food not handy.  For me, those big deficit days triggered muscle-eating-acid-like cortisol.)  On paper, my food plan should have gotten me about 9 pounds down by now, which would have been off track for the goal, but probably still OK to make the show with a stricter diet later.  Instead, I’ve only lost four pounds.  Basically, that’s maintenance.  So it would seem that I’ve been dieting and doing cardio twice a day for 70 days to maintain.  Awesome.

This week, I dropped the carbs a little (80-120 grams per day) and had no weight change.  I had a head cold.  I was moody and crying for the last two days.  I think I’m going to keep them around 120 grams this week and see what happens. (Most of the 4 pounds of loss happened when carbs were around 120-130 grams.)

I really don’t know what’s happening.  If someone else told me these results, I’d assume they were cheating with the food logs.  You don’t have to believe me, but I don’t cheat.  If you want a reference, talk to my Bodybugg Coach Kim.  She knows.  I’m too anal to cheat.  I like the numbers too much.  I got addicted to seeing the results and how the results correlated to the calorie deficits.

I have made an appointment to have a hydrostatic body fat analysis done up at the university in a couple of weeks. That test is supposed to be the most accurate body composition measurement tool short of an autopsy.

This is what that test looks like…

If the results of the test tell me what I think they are going to tell me, a big decision will need to be made.  Do I continue to lose body fat gradually and postpone competing until I’m within a certain range where a 7-8 week prep that won’t screw up my metabolism will get me to where I need to be for the stage?     Or do I diet hard for 11 weeks just to lean out, crank up the cortisol, probably lose a lot of muscle,screw up my metabolism, but make the Aug 25th date?  Is there a third option?  I don’t know.

This is really, really, really hard for me.  I’m an reforming introvert, afraid of new situations, and I’ve dealt with that for the last twenty-two years by identifying fears that make me feel insecure, set a BIG goal around it, and then get ‘er done (use your Larry the Cable Guy voice). I’m reflecting all the time about whether I’m smart enough to do this alone, whether this is really how my body is working, or am I in denial about how my fear of competing could be subconsciously sabotaging my progress.  (Maybe not subconscious if I’m self-checking on that, huh?)  And all of that mental processing creates stress, which is not good, so I try to put a lid on it as soon as I catch myself doing it.

During cardio yesterday, this phrase popped into my head…

“In God’s time.”

I thought of our garden.  I love, love, LOVE garden cucumbers.  I planted those seeds weeks ago and have watched the ground ever since.  We’ve watered the garden.  We’ve made sure it was covered when frost was possible and uncovered when the sun was up.  Weeds need to be pulled.  No matter how I tended that garden, the seedlings came up in their own time.  Nature’s time.  In God’s time.

That’s how I want to approach this phase of my transformation.  I will “tend the garden”.  I will do what I’m supposed to do.  I will eat what I’m supposed to eat.  I will have good days and bad days, but I will be consistent.  It will happen.  But apparently, it’s not going to happen according to a clock or a calendar date that I set.  I don’t need motivation, determination, or will power.  I need to be patient.  It will happen.  I’ve been taught this lesson so often – when I try to control things, they fall apart.  When I relax, follow the path, and let Him handle the details, it works.  It will happen in God’s time, not my time.


Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Faith, Nutrition, Videos