Off Season Struggles

Well, it is official, I am in the off season and it has been over a month since my last competition.  My abs disappeared, cellulite is creeping back on my ass and I have a love/hate relationship with my body.  On a positive note, I am not “hangry” all the time and I have been able kill my workouts because I am not in a calorie deficit.  For those of you that don’t compete or are not familiar with the world of competitive body building this may all sound crazy to you.  For my fellow competitors, I am probably speaking your language.  My plan for the off season is to focus on building muscle, specifically in my back and legs, while maintaining my weight at about 10 lbs over stage weight.  I would like to come in even leaner next year so I do not want to put on more than 10 lbs.  I have a difficult time dropping 1-2 lbs per week during prep and hate, hate, hate cardio.

This off season is different than my other ones.  Before I didn’t really know what I wanted and I chose to compete again because I started to put on too much weight and missed the structure and control that I felt during prep.  This year I have goals, big goals.  I want to win a first overall and not just first in Master’s Division (35 and over).  I also really would like to compete in a larger show and in my home town of Grand Rapids.  Memorial Day weekend of 2017 is my plan.  That is the Grand Rapids show and it is big.  That gives me 6 months to start building and shaping my body to bring my best package to the stage.

Anyone want to join me?

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This is my front pose at the 2016 Great Lakes Iron Man.  I took 1st in Master’s Division and 3rd in Open at this show. 

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. 

Diary of Figure Competitor – Great Blog

There are a lot of questions regarding what it takes to be a figure or bikini competitor. This blogger did a wonderful job summerizing the diary of a successful figure competitor. Jackie is a friend of mine and someone I strongly admire. She is hardworking, strong, dedicated to health and fitness and shares her passion with others by being an amazing personal trainer.

Check out this great blog post!

 

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http://www.mvpsportsclubs.com/blog/2016/03/15/diary-of-a-figure-competitor/

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

 

Six weeks down and six more to go!

So it’s official, I am six weeks out from my NPC Bikini competition.  This prep hasn’t exactly been as easy as some of the other ones. I switched trainers and my diet is much more restrictive with less flexibility.  I eat 5 to 6 meals per day depending on how early I wake up. For the first five weeks each meal consisted of 25 g of carbs, 25 g of protein and very low fat. Approved carbs are such things as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, plain rice cakes and brown rice. My protein sources are lean and I pretty much eat mostly chicken and egg whites. I eat green vegetables with almost every meal and my go to veggies are  broccoli or spinach.  When I’m craving chips or a snack I eat cut up bell peppers dipped in salsa. I eat  an insane amount of raw veggies when we are at parties or potlucks just to keep me satisfied. This has caused an uncomfortable amount of bloating and gas. My kids don’t even want to be in the same room as me after I eat. Last night on our walk home I looked six months pregnant and it was all gas. I’ve tried beano, Gas ex, digestive enzymes and probiotics. I can either go hungry because I’m out of food or eat some more veggies and deal with my pregnant belly.  Because I’m not supposed to snack between meals I have an abundant supply of chewing gum in my purse and drink an excessive amount of coffee. I need to replace every 8 ounces of coffee with an additional 8 ounces of water on top of the gallon I’m already drinking each day so I pee every 20 minutes. This makes traveling in a car with me difficult or even going to the grocery store. So not only am I bloated like I’m pregnant, I also pee constantly like a pregnant lady. I get hangry after about 7 PM and everyone in the house just stays away from me.  I’m either yelling or farting.

This past week has been extremely difficult because I am now carb cycling and I’m having a hard time keeping track of how many meals I get carbs in, etc.  My weight hasn’t really moved in two weeks and that is getting frustrating. I was consistently losing 2 pounds a week and this past two weeks I’ve lost only 1 pound.  Competition prep is really a mental mindfuck.  If you’re not strong mentally this is not the thing for you. Food becomes an obsession and skipping the workout is not an option.

Although everything I’m saying sounds kind of negative, the overall experience is pretty wonderful. You push yourself to extremes you never knew you could.   I also feel amazing physically. I don’t have any junk in my body besides the bloating and I wake up with tons of energy. My skin is great, my nails are growing, my hair is growing and I just feel amazing. Looking in the mirror and seeing a six pack after having three kids and being 35 feels pretty damn good too. My boys all know what a glute is and complement me on how big mine are getting.  This mamas got back!

So with all of that said, below are some of my progress photos and food pictures. I’m overall happy with the changes I’m seeing but would like to be a little bit leaner in the lower body.  Cardio absolutely sucks and I swear while I do it every single time.

So I raise my glass of BCAAs and cheers to another 6 weeks!

Today I decided to use the marker board in kitchen to track my carbs each day.  My weight loss plateau is pissing me off. 

My low carb lunch consisted of cold grilled chicken topped with spicy guac and fresh green beans from my garden. (This meal gave me gas) 

I am happy with the size decrease in my waist and thighs.  My face looks a bit thinner also.  I typically lose it from by cheeks first.  Oh, and my boobs.  They go bye, bye really quick. 

My son kept snapping photos after I was done posing.  This is me relaxed and real.  No sucking in, twisting, etc. 


I have to bring my own food everywhere I go so I always have a cooler packed and ready.  This was two chicken salads I made for a day volunteering at my son’s senior class retreat.  

I took my youngest out to breakfast for his 10th birthday.  He ordered some fluffy pancakes and I asked for a western omelet with egg whites and no cheese. I also asked that the make it without butter and had a side of plain oatmeal as my carb.  

My go to breakfast is egg white veggie scramble (because I cannot make omelets), plain rice cakes and some organic salsa.  

I make my egg white scramble in bulk so it lasts a few days.  One this day I switched things up by having steal cut oats instead of plain rice cakes.  Yeah, I know, crazy!