Where it all began

For those of you that have only known me for a few years you may not know this, but I have not always been healthy and fit. I was actually the complete opposite. I ran my first mile (not a typo, my first 1 mile) when I was 30 years old. My weight has always been like a yo yo and I’ve only been thin when I was able to eat less. I never liked my body and had a unhealthy relationship with food.

So how did I change my life around?

Today’s blog is dedicated to my friend and coach Omar Henderson with NuGro Wellness. I met him six years ago when my cousin mentioned she almost puked at a boot camp class the night before but was planning on going back. The trainer was running a 21 day challenge for $50 that include attending unlimited classes and a 21 day meal plan. I dreamed of having a great body and being confident in a swim suit and was sick of being unhappy. I went to class the next night , almost died and signed up for the challenge. I will never forget my hands shaking from the workout while I wrote the check.

I was added to a Facebook team of women on the same journey, assigned a coach, given a 21 day clean eating meal plan and attacked the challenge. Holy shit! In just 1 week I saw changes and by the end of 3 weeks I was a new women. My jeans were large (even after my husband put them in the dryer), I had more energy and I was addicted to the results. 6 years later I am a personal trainer, Beachbody Coach and competitive bodybuilder. I love what I do and sharing my passion with others!

Omar’s gym has changed locations, I moved to the other side of town and I do most of my own training; however I always fall back to him for guidance. He was my coach for my very first competition and took me somewhere I thought only others could go. Three years later he guided me to the stage again and I couldn’t be more grateful. We worked together as a team on this prep and he gave sound recommendations when I was crazy and carb depleted. Although I hid it well on stage, I was scared and insecure. I stood backstage second guessing my physique and posing. He was there to build me up, provide me guidance and make the final tweaks to my posing. I hit the stage with confidence and sass and I crushed it.

Whatever your goal is, don’t go at it alone. Two is much stronger than one. Will I compete again? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is that it won’t be on my own.

Be proud of your accomplishments

As I look back at this competition and analyze what I could have done differently to have brought a better package I realized I’m being too hard on myself and need to tell these thoughts to shut the f*ck up. Do you have this problem? Like nothing you do is good enough? I’m my own worse critic.

This was my fifth competition and 3rd year competing. In the past if I followed the plan the weight seemed to magically fall off. Well not this time. After 4 weeks of prep (8 weeks out from my competition) I found myself discouraged and blogged about it. Instead of changing my goal we just changed our approach. We got more aggressive with my diet and lowered both my carbs and protein. I also increased the amount of cardio I did. On show day I felt pretty confident with the package I brought to the stage but would have liked to have been about 5lbs less. I was still holding on to fat in my mid-section and thighs. Today I pulled up that 8 weeks out photo from my blog and said “damn, you killed this prep!” Yeah, I complimented myself and it felt good. Go ahead, try it! Look in the mirror and see how beautiful you are. Does your hair look good today? Go ahead, tell yourself that. How about your smile? Whatever it is,remember that you are beautiful and you should be proud of your accomplishments no matter the size. Stop cutting yourself down and build yourself up. When that crazy bitch in your head starts telling you that you shouldn’t have had that cookie or that you are fat just say “shut the f*ck up bitch” and move on. Unless you violated one of the 10 commandments you didn’t sin and you can give yourself a break, just move on and smile.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor

For those of you that follow me on Facebook at See Mom Lift  you are more than aware that I recently competed in two NPC competitions.  The first was the Great Lakes Iron Man in Flint MI on September 24th and the second was the Central States Championships on October 8th.  I am now officially in my off season and do not plan to compete again until the spring of 2017.

Now that it has been a couple weeks since my final show, and all of the stress of competing and starting a new job the Monday after my show has worn off, I thought it was a good time to blog a bit and catch everyone up.

Let’s first talk about the prep.  How long does it take to get “stage ready”?  I get asked this a lot and my total prep is approximately 12 weeks.  I lost a total of 10 lbs in this time and maintained my muscle mass.  If you have a large amount of weight to lose and you are not already weightlifting regularly then 12 weeks really would not be enough.  This was not a weight loss competition, it was a fitness competition. Skinny girls don’t place well.  (They don’t look that good either)

On that note, let’s talk about the workouts.  Many people assume I spend hours in the gym each day to achieve the lean physique when actually most of my time is spent in the kitchen prepping my meals.  The workouts consisted of weight training 5 days per week and cardio 5 days per week.  Total time in the gym ranged from 1- 1.5 hours with cardio included.  The weight training was not small 3 lb dumbbells that most of us have on our bedroom floor or cheap resistance bands.  I used barbells and squat racks.  I trained legs 2-3 times per week and squat more than my body weight.  Sorry ladies, if you want a tight ass you are going to have to squat.

The nutrition is the most difficult part and the most important.  This is where most people fail.  I cut out all processed foods, protein bars, etc and at whole, natural foods.  My main sources of protein were chicken, white fish, turkey and whey protein powder.  My complex carbs consisted of oatmeal, plain rice cakes, brown rice and sweet potatoes.  I took fish oil to get in my fat and at green veggies with 5 of my 6 meals each day.  Spinach was on my plate for almost every meal.  The last four weeks I cut out all fruit, tomatoes, corn and carrots.  This was to eliminate sugar from my diet and shred the last bit of fat from the back of my legs.

A typically day was 5- 6 meals and looked like this (insert coffee between each meal):

Meal 1: Plain Oatmeal with 4 egg whites sweetened with stevia and cinnamon

Meal 2: 4 oz grilled chicken, 1 cup broccoli and 125g sweet potato

Meal 3: 4 oz grilled chicken, 1 cup broccoli and 125g sweet potato

Meal 4: 4 oz ground turkey over 2 cups mixed greens

Meal 5: 4 oz ground turkey, 1 cup asparagus over mixed greens

Meal 6: 1 scoop casien protein powder, 1 tbsp powdered peanut butter, stevia, cinnamon, mixed with water until dough like consistency.

I seasoned my meat and veggies with onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and a lot of Mrs. Dash.  I used Sea Salt until the last week of prep.  I used balsamic vinegar as my dressing and avoided oils and fats.  No dairy, no bread, no variety. (yes, it sucks.  If it were easy we all would be fit and healthy and not overweight).

Overall I was very happy with the total package I brought to the stage.  I have competed 4 times now and my goal is to simple improve on the girl I was in the previous show.  My upper body tends to get shredded before my lower body and I the feedback I received from my very first show was to lean out my lower body to match my upper body.  I have slowly been working on balancing my overall physique.  I received great feedback from the judges this time around and will be working on building up some more muscle this off season and hopefully bring my best package ever in the spring.  I placed very well in both shows and have qualified for nationals if I choose to compete at that level.  My overall goal is to win a 1st overall.  I don’t think I will stop until that is achieved.

Here are some photos from the shows.  Most of the comparison and judging occurs during the day show called pre-judging.  The awards are given at night.  Thank you to stagetimephoto.com for the great photos!  If you want to follow any of the Michigan competitions go to http://michigannpcnews.com/.   If you need competition prep help or want to attend a posing workshop check out Elite Fit Center.   Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook as See Mom Lift.

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This line-up is Open Class B (all ages and levels). I placed 3rd in this class and qualified for nationals. 

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Open Class B back pose.  I placed 3rd in this class. 

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This is the Master’s Division (35 and up) and I placed 1st

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Master’s Division Back Pose at pre-judging.  I placed 1st. 

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This is from the second show in October. 

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This is the Master’s Division (35 and over) and it was a tough competition.  So many strong, beautiful and confident women on stage.  I made tons of new friends. 

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Master’s Division pre-judging.  I placed 2nd in this division.  

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Open class B.  I was absolutely thrilled to be in the top 5 with these young beautiful ladies.  I placed 5th in this class. 

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Top 5 from Open (all ages and levels) class B

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Master’s Top 5, I placed 2nd. 

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Open Class B top 5, I placed 5th. 

Less Than 3 Weeks Out and Things are Finally Coming Together 

So I have only 17 days until the first of my two fall competitions (but who’s counting).  I was feeling a little frustrated with the lack of weight loss and getting discouraged but today I finally saw the results I was looking for. My weight is still only down about 6 lbs from where I started but my body is much leaner. Today I put my competition suit on and practiced my posing. Posing is something I will practice daily from now until my show and is more important than people would think.  The judges are looking for the whole package and poor stage presentation will prevent you from placing in top 5. Although I practiced a lot last year my nerves took over my first show and my stage presence lacked confidence. I rocked my second show and felt like a whole new woman on that stage. This one is going to be even better. My new coach tweaked my front pose a little and I’m ready to present my best package yet.
Although things are coming together physically, don’t  be fooled by the title of this post. I still lose my shit a few times a day and don’t handle any stress well. My tank is running on empty and my % body fat is dropping below a healthy level for me. Basically my hormones are a little wacky and I’m acting f*cking nuts.  My kids just stay out of my way after 7pm when my energy drops and mood swings kick in. I finding it easier now that they are back in school and I can get my work done during the day. I’m typing this blog while sitting at my middle son’s football scrimmage.

My diet is the same as my last blog with lots of lean protein and greens. I’ve been satisfying my sweet tooth with decaf coffee and stevia after almost every meal. Cucumbers have been my saving grace. I eat a whole one seasoned with Mrs. Dash and garlic powder twice daily. This keeps me full and prevents over eating at meals. They also help a ton with regularity.

This is a typical meal on my lower carb days.  If I do add carbs it is tyipcally sweet potato or a plain rice cake.

Although there is less than a 10 lb difference in the scale I am pleased with the changes I can see

Here are my strippers shoes that are required for show day. Now you can see why I practice daily.

To stay full I eat most of my food over a huge bed of spinach.

Just another day in the kitchen prepping my greens and egg whites

 

3 Weeks down, and 9 to go!

I am officially 3 full weeks into my competition prep and finally seeing some physical changes.  My total weight loss is 4lbs and I have have lost some inches in the waist and thighs.  I  do weekly check-ins with my coach and do not weigh myself daily.  The goal is to lose body fat and not muscle so I only shoot to lose 1.5 – 3lbs per week.  So far I am on track and loving the results.  This prep is different from my last two because I switched coaches.  The main difference is the diet and amount of cardio I am doing.  I love, love, love food and prefer variety.  This plan is slowly cutting all my variety out and I will eventually be eating the same thing every day.  It also has me doing five 45 minute cardio sessions per week and I hate cardio.  Good thing Beachbody just release Country Heat and I can get my cardio in by dancing!  I am okay with the changes though because my goal is to beat the person I was before and come in leaner and stronger.  To do that you have to step it up a notch and challenge yourself.  You cannot spell CHALLENGE without CHANGE.

The past week has been a little bit challenging with the diet because we have been traveling.  I spend 3 days in Indianapolis for my son’s AAU basketball tournament and had to watch my boys eat out each night.  I packed most of my food and traveled with a huge cooler.  We booked a hotel that had a gym and continental breakfast.  I went with plain oatmeal and a scoop of protein powder each morning.  Currently I am in Nashville for the annual Beachbody Summit.  My friend that I am traveling with is also in competition prep so we packed a huge cooker of cut up veggies for the road trip and did short workouts at each rest stop along the way. (I will post links below!)  Yesterday we hit up Whole Foods and stocked up on healthy groceries.  I brought half of my meals with me and had my yummy pumpkin protein pancakes for breakfast the last two days.  The condo has an amazing gym and this trip is going pretty well.  We walked a lot, went shopping, had pool time, etc.  No alcohol or partying on Broadway for us.

Here is my 3 week transformation photos and some links to all the quick workouts we did on the road trip!

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3 weeks of prep and down 4lbs.  Camera angle was a little off but I am liking the reduction in my waist and thighs. 

Why I Chose to Compete

One week from today I will be stepping on the stage for my second time.  I am exhausted and have many emotions going through me right now; however, this time around the biggest emotion is excitement.  I am excited to go out there and beat the girl I was back in September.  She was nervous,scared, uncomfortable, timid, anxious and extremely frightened.  Today I am confident and excited to show that girl what a champion is made of.  I am competing against myself and pushing myself to be a better version of me.

So why on earth do I even want to compete?  Well, it all started 4 years ago when I started working out with a fierce group a ladies and an amazing trainer.  I gained strength and confidence and felt empowered to be who I wanted to be.  A few girls at the gym did bodybuilding competitions and I always imagined it was something I could never achieve.  After thinking about it for a couple years I just decided to go for it, why the hell not?    I wanted to show my kids that if you want something bad enough, and you work you ass off, you can achieve it.  Although not everyone wants to stand on stage in an itsy bitsy bikini and flex their glutes, the concept of determining your goals and staying commited to them is the same.   Don’t sit around thinking about your goals, get up and start working on them!  We can not change who we were yesterday but we can work on today and live for tomorrow.

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This is my 12 week transformation for my first NPC Bikini Competition. I placed 3rd in Open and qualified for Nationals.

My 21 Day Fix Transformation

I was first fully introduced to the Beachbody programs this time last year when a few coworkers and I decided to do the 21 Day Fix Extreme program together. Although my journey to being fit and healthy started about 5 years ago, I am human and there have been many ups and downs along the way.  Last summer we bought a new house that needed many renovations.  I put my workouts off and focused on my house. Then, in the fall, I got a new job and that became my focus (in addition to family of course).  My weight slowly started to climb and I was definitely no longer “fit”.  Spring break was just around the corner and the thought of wearing my bikini made me nervous and uncomfortable.

I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into but the idea of only working out 30 minutes a day and using color coded food containers to meal prep intrigued me.  The 21 Day Fix program and the 21 Day Fix Extreme provides 7 fun and effective workouts and a simple way to figure out your diet with the use of 7 color coded food containers. The eating plan has color coded squares that correspond with the food container.  There was no weighing of my food, counting macros, measuring, etc.  If your food fits into the container you can eat it!  The workouts were awesome and offered tons of variety. There was a different discs for each day of the week.  At the end of the 21 days we only did each disc three times.  It never got boring and my body always felt challenged. My coworkers and I created an excel spreadsheet to make the food tracking a little bit easier and worked out together on lunch when we could.  If we didn’t fit in the workouts during the day we held each other accountable and finished on our own at home.  We created are own mini challenge group and motivated each other. I noticed changes in my energy and body after the first week and that provided extra motivation.  After the 21 days I was 10lbs lighter, dropped 2 pants sized and rocked my bikini at spring break.  This by far has been my best Beachbody program experience and I would recommend this program to anyone (male or female) looking for a balanced plan that involves strength training, cardio, Pilates and yoga.

I am so excited about this program and how it can help others reach their goals that I will be starting a 21 Day Fix challenge group March 14th 2016.  The best part about doing the 21 Day Fix program right now is that it is currently $70 off through the end of February.  I can offer this great program to others for a really low price (much less than I paid).  I will be posting additional information about the challenge group and requirements on my See Mom Lift facebook page.  If you are positive you want to join I highly recommend buying your challenge pack this month, February 2016 while it is on sale. Contact me for more information or use the link at the bottom of this page.

Below is a video that describes the program in greater detail.