Tuesday, March 27, 2012


As of yesterday, I decided to move up my show a whopping 2 months and 2 days to compete in...

The NPC Southern California Bikini Championships!!

After meeting with Coach and going over my progress over the past 6 weeks, we decided that I'm ready for the challenge of a full-blown Contest Prep and I'll be able to get there in the next 10.5 weeks. So here goes nothing! As he so wisely said, only I decide how I'm going to look onstage. So all of the choices I make in the coming weeks are going to determine where my body is at the end of it all. If I thought the last 6 weeks were challenging, I'm in for one hell of a ride because from this point on, my training & nutrition are going to be kicked up a notch...or ten.

In related news, I survived and absolutely LOVED my first day of HIIT! The intervals break up my workout and make me feel amazing and accomplished once I finish the cardio session. I've read so many fitness gurus and competitors rave about the benefits of sprints/interval training, but so far I'd been confined to LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio aimed at burning fat...I had a feeling Coach was going to start mixing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio into my program and I was right. At first I was hesitant about it, but after my first interval I was revving to go! Yay!!

I hope last night's workout was an indicator of how I'm going to approach this next phase of my training. I'm so motivated to push even harder than I have over the last 6 weeks and just tune everything out, focusing in on the prize at the end--stepping on stage and showcasing the best body possible. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

it's the little things....

- walking into a wide-open gym and being able to move freely between each piece of equipment, bench, barbell, dumbbell and treadmill as I please...something I appreciate even MORE after having to resort to working out in the jungle (aka 24 Hr. Fitness) last weekend while visiting D's parents.

- changing it up and making my morning egg white-oatmeal muffins in a mini muffin tin this morning--let me tell you, those little bits of goodness were absolutely yummy and tasted even better with the knowledge that I had TEN to munch on!

- realizing that jeans that I bought 2 months ago are HUGE on me now--bummer because yesterday was my very first (and last) time wearing them, awesome because I was literally swimming in them--yay!!!

- staring down at my freshly painted bright pink nails as I type this ;)

- watching posing videos online, getting in contact and scheduling posing sessions with one of the QUEENS of the IFBB Sonia Gonzales, and preparing to order my first pair of Ellie's :)

- looking in the mirror and being so damn proud of how far I've come and knowing I'm only halfway through--wow...imagining how much better I'm going to be a month from now gets me so pumped!

...46 days until the End of Phase 1 :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Note to Self:

1. You've already made progress--keep working hard!
I know you've spent hours obsessing over pictures of IFBB Pros, wondering to yourself when the hell you ever got the delusional idea that you'd ever look remotely like those girls. Well, believe it or not, you CAN. Tiffany Boydston and countless others started right where you did and look at them now, tearing up national stages everywhere. Don't think for a second that you're any different or that it's impossible for you. It's entirely possible and I think deep down you knew that when you started. As a matter of fact, I'm entirely sure that that's why you started this in the first place--you KNOW it's possible, in fact, it's inevitable--if you put in the work. Now get your butt back on that treadmill!

2. Ignore the scale--I know YOU know it's working.
The terror, the dread, the hesitant toe-touch to warm up that damn piece of glass. The double zeros appear...deep breath. here goes nothing....and...aaaand...UGH! Yeah, it goes a little something like that...It's so easy to get caught up in that number, to beat your pretty little self up about it for weeks on end. I know it sucks, slaving all week long in the gym, dragging yourself out of bed and out the door towards hours of lifting and cardio, only to find your efforts have been wasted the moment you step on the scale. Well, my dear, that's life...and that's how it's going to be for a while. I know you look to your right and see the boy celebrating a 5-week, 20 lbs. weight loss, but you know that should not be getting you down. First off, he's a BOY and second, he had further to go than you. Now he's on that last 15 lbs. and the playing field is even! Just look in the mirror, dude--I know you feel yourself leaning out. Don't get down on the number and just keep working hard. You'll get there too.

3. You've been overweight for 26+ years, it'll take more than 5 weeks to lose it all.
I know you want to be an overnight success. I know you wake up every morning secretly hoping that the mirror will magically reveal a 100 lb. tight, lean little you, but alas, you're not there...YET. Calm yourself, it's only been a month and a half and you're doing just fine. For years upon years, you were perfectly content pigging out and being overweight...don't forget that just 3 short years ago you were at your heaviest and since then you've shed 10 (yes, TEN) dress sizes and roughly 40 (yes, FORTY) pounds. You're in the home stretch and you knew this part was going to be the hardest--hang in there.

4. You're not really hungry.
It's been an hour...ONE hour since your last meal. Remember back like 3 months ago when you only ate every 4-5 hours? Yeah, you can stick this out for another 90 minutes.

5. Reward/Cheat Meals will taste that much better once you've EARNED them.
I know all that food looks so damn tempting. I know you obsessively Pin pictures of gorgeous, mouth-watering food that it feels like you'll never be able to eat again. But you know as well as I do that the moment you're able to sink your teeth into that juicy bacon cheeseburger (with a side of Tums, of course), it'll all be worth the wait. You'll have accomplished something you never in your wildest dreams thought possible, and yes--victory will be sweet. :)

6. You're HOT!
I've seen you. Those passing glances. Those brown eyes lingering in the mirror for 4, 5, 6 seconds. Yeah, that's right. I've seen you checking yourself out in the reflection of that store window. Go ahead, girl! You look damn good and you know it!! So yeah, you're not at your goal weight yet. You're not in "competition shape" but you and I both know you've worked damn hard to get to where you're at today and it shows. Take it in, you deserve it!

7. Even if NO ONE ELSE does, I believe in you.
I know there are those days when you feel like no one understands, no one "gets it" and even though everyone feigns excitement and offers up their words of "encouragement," you feel like no one really honestly believes that you can do this. Well you know what? Who the eff cares? I believe in you, ok? I believe that you can get there, that you can power through that last 20 minutes of cardio, those last 4 sets of your circuit. I believe that you're going to look so ridiculously good on stage. So there. Forget them--this is about YOU.

8. You're training with the BEST!
Why did you hire Kimbo? Because he's the best. He trains the best...and YOU will be the BEST.

9. You're not alone.
So I know you feel like you're completely on your own sometimes. Your family and friends can listen and try to learn about what you're doing, but they'll never really "get it." Even D--walking beside you every day, training with you, eating with you--well, there are just things that he'll never really understand about what it's going to take to get you on to that competition stage, and that's okay. When you feel lost and alone, just remember--there are thousands of Pro and Amateur Bikini Competitors out there who've been exactly where you are today--who've struggled and stalled, who've been sore and achy and tired, who've fought through the ups and downs and somehow found it in them to pick their sweaty selves off of the floor and power through those last 20 minutes of cardio. They've been there, they've done it, they've faced it, they've conquered it--and so can you. You're never, never, never alone.

10. Enjoy this.
I know it seems crazy to say this now, but one day, not too long from now, you're going to be on the other side of this mountain. You're going to be an NPC Bikini Competitor. You're going to have one National Qualifier under your belt, 12+ weeks of Contest Prep behind you, and the bikini, tan, and clear heels to prove it...You only get one First Competition, only one First Prep...so enjoy it. Enjoy the struggles, the challenges. Learn from it, grow from it so that one day you can look back at it and have something real and tangible to be proud of. Take a deep breath in and soak it all in--you're almost there. :)


Friday, March 16, 2012

where I'm at...

It's approximately 11am on Friday, March 16th and I am currently:

...in desperate need of  nap.
...ready for the weekend.
...in danger of falling asleep at my desk.
...counting down the days until my next check-in with Coach Kim.
...dreading weighing myself tomorrow.
...dreaming of my first cheat meal.
...nursing a tweaked neck.
...did I mention hungry?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


decisions, decisions...

Food for Thought...

Fascinating article from Muscle & Strength:

The Hormone That Keeps Us Fat

Ever wondered why you get to a certain level of body fat and no matter what you do, you just can't lose any more weight? This article explains why!

Ever wondered why when going on diet to cut body fat that you get to a certain level of body fat percentage and then no matter what you do the body just won’t allow you to lose that extra bit of fat. This may be down to a phenomenon that has been identified called the Set Point.

Set point, quite simply put is the body’s way of physiologically regulating your bodyweight at a certain level. There are various internal processes our body has that make a coordinated effort by your body to adjust the intake and expenditure of energy so that a specific amount of body fat is maintained. Any attempt to deviate from the pre-determined level will be actively resisted. Looking at the set point in more detail tells us that a regulatory system exists in our body that is designed to maintain our bodyweight at a fixed level.

This is similar to other systems that we have in our body that regulates our blood glucose levels, and our body temperature at a certain level. The body will attempt to protect against you being too heavy or your becoming too thin by a mechanism in the hypothalamus in our brain called the Adipostat.

The Adipostat

The Adipostat establishes a set point for a fixed amount of fat in our body. The brain attempts to maintain this set point by regulating our expenditure and storage of energy until our fat stores meet the level determined by the body.
A person who has been dieting for many months will have their efforts undermined by the body working to restore the bodyweight to its set point. The Adipostat does this by activating the sensation of hunger so that we feel the need to increase calories or by slowing the body’s metabolism which will cause a weight gain.
Just because our body will maintain this stable amount of body fat at a certain level doesn’t mean that we can’t change this level. We can change our body fat levels by a combination of the type, and also the amount, of physical activity that we perform, and the level of nutrients that we eat.

The Hormone Leptin

Although a negative energy balance from either fasting or exercise causes a fall in the levels of an important regulatory hormone called leptin, while a positive energy balance with glucose metabolism is important. Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by fat cells that influences energy expenditure and food intake through neuroendocrine pathways. The most important lifestyle factor that can lower this set point more than any other is by performing regular exercise.

The lifestyle changes that should be made should be of long term changes and not just short term such as just trying to lose a few pounds for a holiday or some other event. As already mentioned above, our eating patterns are regulated by feeding and satiety centres located in the hypothalamus and also by the pituitary gland that responds to the bodies signals indicating high fat stores and hunger. Substances that are critical to this process include glucose (sugar), insulin and leptin.
Rising levels of leptin appear to suppress the appetite and falling levels stimulate appetite.

Overweight people tend to have higher levels of leptin and these leptin levels fall as bodyweight is lost. This system works as a self balancing biological mechanism, particularly to prevent starvation by stimulating the appetite as bodyweight is lost, and to reduce the appetite as weight is gained.
When leptin levels fall this sends a message to your brain that you are in a starvation mode, which then sets off a reaction which will decrease your metabolism thereby burning less body fat, breaking down your muscle mass and starts storing body fat and increasing your appetite. These normal responses are necessary to keep us alive even with severe calorie restriction, but make it harder to keep losing our body fat.

Leptin levels are affected by several factors. Leptin is secreted by fat cells and the more body fat we have, the higher the leptin levels, but as our body fat stores decrease, leptin levels also fall. Leptin levels also correspond to your calorie intake, when you cut calories the leptin levels also decrease. Leptin levels will fluctuate along with insulin, the hormone that is released by the pancreas that works to keep your blood sugar levels stable. When your insulin levels are low, such as when someone embarks on a low carbohydrate intake, the leptin levels decrease. So you can see that when calories are cut aggressively to lose body fat and/or you reduce carbohydrate intake the harder it becomes to lose the body fat which means that body is working against you.

Lowering and Maintaining Low Body Fat

Method 1: The Cheat Day

There are ways of lowering and maintaining low levels of body fat. One of these methods requires one day of the week as a cheat day where you can eat virtually anything you want including your favorite foods that you have left out of the diet. Anything within reason can be eaten including sugars and fatty foods. This cheat day serves two purposes. One, is it helps you to stick with a certain eating plan due to the fact that you know on this day you can satisfy any cravings or temptations that you may feel on the calorie restricted days. The second purpose of the cheat day is that it stops the normal dieting plateau which normally occurs with calorie restriction. The dieting plateau is brought about from the set point mechanism that is mentioned earlier in this article that physiologically regulates your bodyweight by adjusting the intake and expenditure of energy so that a specified amount of body fat is maintained.

The main problem with calorie restricted diets is it puts the body into a starvation mode which invokes hormonal processes mentioned above, to slow the metabolism and increase hunger to maintain current body fat levels which in turn leads to the dieting plateau. Once this happens, getting rid of that last bit of body fat is very near impossible.

You will find that when first starting on a new dieting phase that bodyfat is lost quite quickly along with water weight, but as more body fat is lost the body will initiate the starvation response which in turn lowers leptin levels to drop sharply which increases the appetite, and a reduction of energy expenditure. The cheat day will curb the starvation response by tricking the body into thinking that more food is now available and bring the body out of the starvation mode. This will allow a continued loss of body fat over the next few weeks or months.

The increased leptin production brought on by the cheat day elevates the metabolism and keeps hunger at bay for longer periods of time. To get the most effect of the elevated leptin production plenty of carbohydrates are needed particularly the non fibrous carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, cereals etc. This is one time that the high glycemic foods that you have been strictly avoiding are the best foods to eat; you can even eat your favorite sugary foods like pastries, biscuits and other glucose laden snacks.

But as mentioned previously above you can “virtually” eat anything that you want, but not in massive amounts. Protein intake should be kept at 1g per pound of body weight; fruit should be kept to a minimum. An increase of calories of 50% of your current dietary intake is the maximum that you should go to as any increase over this amount may increase bodyfat levels. You may find that as fat levels get low that a more regular refeed day is required due to the lower the bodyfat level the more the body will resist further fat loss by further reducing leptin production. In this situation a cheat day may be required every five or six days.

Weight training is very important in increasing and maintaining your muscle mass. The reason why we lose muscle tissue when dieting, even though protein intake is high, is hormonal and the reason why we can’t gain muscle without overeating again is hormonal. And it is leptin that controls these hormones with the exception of insulin. Both insulin and leptin are both affected by glucose. Increased leptin also results in preferential liver glycogen resynthesis; it also increases testosterone levels and increases in growth hormone, and blunts cortisol release.

Method 2: Calorie Cycling

Another method that is used to achieve low levels of body fat and eliminating dieting plateaus is by cycling the intake of calories. Calorie cycling will also keep leptin levels high and again confuse the body into not allowing the normal starvation mode dieting plateau.

This type of dieting requires effort in the planning of food and calorie intakes, but never gives the body chance to get into the starvation mode. There is a limit to the amount of extra calories you can ingest, and should remain at approx 300 more or less calories than the normal daily intake.

An example would be that if your required calorie intake is 2000 calories per day then a 3 day cycle would give; day 1 would be a reduced intake to 1700 calories, day two would mean an increase up normal levels of 2000 calories, and day 3 would be an increase up to 2300 calories. The cycle would then continue for the next three days, day 4; 1700 calories, day 5; 2000 calories, day 6; 2300 calories. The average intake over the three day cycle is still the normal 2000 calories. This cycle would continue until your desired body fat level is reached. When coming off this type of dietary manipulation it is recommended that increase in calories is in small increments only to stop any hormonal reactions.

Effect of Fasting, refeeding, and dietary fat restriction on plasma leptin levels.
Weigle DS, Barton D, Connor WE, Steiner RA, Soules MR, Kuijper JL.
The Role of Leptin in Regulating Neuroendocrine Function in Humans.
Susan Bluher and Christos Mantzoros
The stimulatory effect of leptin on the neuroenocrine reproductive axis of the monkey. Endocrinology 1998 Nov; 139 (11): 4652-62
Finn PD, Cunningham MJ, Pau KY, Spies HG, Clifton DK, Stiener RA.
Leptin regulates pulsatile luteinizing hormone and growth hormone secretion in the sheep. Endocrinology 200 Nov; 141 (11); 3965-75
Nagatani S, Zeny Y, Keisler DH, Foster DL, Jaff CA.
Evidence that glucose metabolism regulates leptin secretion from cultured rat adipocytes. Endocrinology 1998 Feb; 139 (2): 551-8
Mueller WM, Gregoire Fm, Stanhope Kl, Mobbs CV, Mizuno TM, Warden CH, Stern JS, Havel PJ.
Leptin levels in human and rodent: Measurement of plasma leptin and ob RNA in obese and weight reduced subjects. Nat Med 1995 Nov; 1 (11): 1155-61.
Maffei M, Halaas J, Ravussin E, Pratley RE, Lee GH, Zhang Y, Fei H, Kim S, Lallone R,




Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Phase 1: 29 days down--55 to go...

So at this point, just about a month into my Training, I wish I could say I'm going strong and making leaps and bounds. In my head, after the first month I'd be flaunting around a tight, fit little body, well on my way to the stage. I'd be rocking every training day, pumped up by every cardio session, totally accustomed to the food (or lack thereof) and straight-up OWNING the program...but that just isn't so...

I find myself suffering through constant cravings. Staring longingly at pictures/recipes of delicious, cheesy, sugary, not-at-all-"good-for-you" food on Pinterest all. day. long...with no hope of a Reward Meal in sight for a long, long, looooooong time.

And that's where it hits--the DOUBT. Can I really do this? Can I honestly survive 8 more (technically 21.5 more) weeks of this? Is my body EVER going to change?

I knew before I started this journey that I'd have good days and bad days, that it would get A LOT harder before it got any easier, that I would need patience and trust and focus if I was going to get there...and yes, it's all true. And consider yourself warned: there may be more bad days than good, especially when you're just starting off. Every single day I have to RESIST--the urge to take just one bite of that snack, the urge to skip out on the gym, the urge to GIVE UP ALL TOGETHER.(gasp)

You know, resistance is a funny thing. Sure, I think it takes tons of will power to say no to all the things I wish I could eat, but deep down I have realized that it's all mental. I have been the one resisting this process, this change. It takes a lot more than some sweat and protein powder to make a once chubby girl into a bikini competitor. When I decided to TRANSFORM my body, what I really was doing was transforming my life--my daily routines, my eating habits, my workout program, my cardio schedule, my priorities--the bangin' body that I get out of it should just be icing on the cake! (damn, cake sounds so bomb right now) ;)

I know this isn't a "forever" thing. I'll cycle in and out of this intense level of training and nutrition based on the competitions I choose for as long as I choose to compete...but this way of life, of living--clean eating definitely has to be something I stick to FOREVER. Sure--I could indulge myself in every single craving and eat every single greasy, sugary, fried thing in sight, BUT then I'd have to trade in my current body for my old one--heh, yeah...that's NOT happening. So yeah, it's hard and I feel somewhat deprived at the moment, but that beats the hell out of being fat.

So here's how I rationalize all of this:
1. Bust my ass for the remaining 20 some odd weeks and surrender myself to the expertise of my Coach.
2. Compete, compete, compete.
3. Indulge in some long-awaited Reward Meals (finally)
4. Transition to simple, clean eating long-term.

Simple enough--right? ;)

Monday, March 12, 2012


Stumbled upon this on Natalie Hodson's page and it really spoke volumes to me...

The Myth of Discipline http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/161/The_Myth_of_Discipline.aspx
There is no such thing as discipline. There is only love. Love is the most powerful creative force in the universe. You are the result of what you love most. You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts or you love donuts more than wash board abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength. Or ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind. For example, if you truly love yourself in the gym, you choose the full squat with chains over the leg extension machine. At the restaurant, if you truly love yourself, you pass on the heavenly smelling basket of bread and creamy butter, and ask for some more limes for the water. Limes alkalize your body which in turn helps your bones, muscles and your ability to deal with stress.

When you are faced with difficult choices, ask yourself, in context of course, what would a loving expert recommend? For example, when working chest, would a loving strength coach recommend the pec deck, or full range dumbbell presses. When choosing desserts, would the loving nutritionist recommend a bowl of berries or the triple decker brownie submerged under melting vanilla ice cream. How to free yourself from the outdated concept of discipline:
  1. Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love.
  2. Love is the greatest creative force of the Universe. Use it wisely.
  3. Choose to love yourself more than external things.
  4. Treating yourself well accelerates the growth of your self-esteem.
  5. When people comment on your results and say things like “Wow you have a lot discipline” answer “No, I just make loving choices for myself". Reinforcing your own positive behavior will help you grow in strength.
  6. What you appreciate appreciates. Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. Let’s say, for example, you just did a single on the squat with a load you didn’t feel like doing. Say: “Wow! I am impressed with your strength of mind, that’s why you are a champion”. By documenting and rewarding your successes, they will grow in magnitude and frequency. Whenever I meet a goal, I reward myself with positive things like a vacation or a new piece of equipment. When I get something better, I make the choice of giving away the old piece to someone who will appreciate it. Living a clutter free life allows for more growth.
  7. The more you believe in yourself, the more objectively you will be able to take the advice of authority figures.
  8. “Use your faults” was French singer Edith Piaf’s motto. I don’t like to stretch athletes. It is too time consuming and requires too much energy. Using that fault, I developed the Poliquin Instant Muscle Strengthening Technique (P.I.M.S.T.), which is a system that uses a myriad of body work techniques such as acupressure points that instantly give increases in flexibility. No wonder it’s always the fastest selling course we offer in the PICP!
There is an old Hindhu saying: “The World is as we are”. Are you tired of seeing the condition of the world around you? Start by changing yourself- be the change you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


My first month of Contest Prep has been a learning experience (to say the least) and although I'm really just starting off on my Clean-Eating, Intense Training journey, I've picked up a few little tricks along the way...

So here are a few of my CAN'T-TRAIN-WITHOUT-IT favs...

#1 Polar FT40 Heart Rate Monitor
Ol' Faithful has been by my side (well, on my wrist, technically) for every single grueling training session. I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring your HR during cardio, lifting, and circuit training. Heart Rate Monitors are great training tools and are a great way to gauge how effective and productive each session is. I compare my calories burned between my Polar FT40 and the cardio equipment at the gym and for the record, I burn roughly 50MORE calories per hour (according to my FT40) than I do on the machine counters. I personally recommend HRM's with chest straps for the most accurate readings.

#2 Food Scale(s)

So...I have a couple of these bad boys and I would be absolutely LOST without them. The top one (Taylor Digital Black Glass Food Scale) is my at-home scale. The surface area is great--I can see the measurement with just about any size plate on it. It has an 11 lb. weight capacity (although I rarely ever weigh anything over 4 oz. at a time) and tare capabilities (essential for weighing food in order to subtract the weight of plates/bowls). The little guy (Taylor Mechanical Food Scale) is my travel buddy and fits right into my purse or cooler for measuring on-the-go. Bonus: the white container on top doubles as storage for the scale itself (awesome!).

#3 SmartShake(s)

In case you didn't already figure it out, the Black/Gold Jay Cutler version is D's, the Pink is mine ;) These SmartShakes are awesome for packing shakes/supps to take to the gym, work, trips, shopping--you name it! The bottom portions twist off for protein/supp storage. Just add water into the shaker, twist and pour in your protein and shake! Comes with a funnel that mixes protein perfectly as well as a carabiner that you can clip to your purse/cooler or even attach your keys to at the gym!

#4 1/2 Gallon Water Jug

So, I know most "normal" bodybuilders carry around full gallon jugs, but this cute little 64 oz. jug is perfect for me! It's nice and compact, easy to refill and WAY easier to drink from than those huge ones. May not be for everyone, but I'm definitely a fan! ;)

#5 6-Pack Bag

6-Pack Bags are a bodybuilder's DREAM and mine was a Valentine's Day present from my love <3. These coolers are perfectly constructed to carry all 6 meals for travel. The tupperware containers that come with the 6-pack snap on all 4 sides for a tight seal. The side compartments are insulated and have PLENTY of room for shakers and I usually keep my ziplocks of dry foods (oatmeal, flax, nuts, etc.) in there too.

LOVE all this stuff and I'm sure I'll come across more in the future so I'll keep adding on :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

a letter to the weak me

courtesy of Rachel Mac:

Dear Weak [enter your name], 

I get it. You're dying for a piece of candy. Maybe it's not the candy (or the pastries, or whatever), maybe you're bored, you're hungry, you're tired of thinking about the candy all day and you're just saying screw it. One bite, one piece, one serving/helping, and then i'm done, I'll go to the gym, I'll go home for the night, I'm still on track.

You're bored.

This is absolutely the stupidest reason imaginable to throw yourself off track, feel disappointed in yourself and your lack of self-control, give yourself a belly you'll have to work off for four days, screw up the carb deficit that I work hard every single day to create, feel cranky, avoid plans with friends or your boyfriend, dread the weekend, add stress to your already stressful life, etc. Remember, you never get bored of accidentally discovering how slim you are, whether it's in the fitting room, when lining up progress pictures, in the locker room at the gym, when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a window as you walk down the street, when someone calls you "slim" or "toned" or "fit". THOSE THINGS never get boring. Focus on how fun and exciting that part of the process is and ignore the rest. For my sake.

You're hungry. 

Go drink four glasses of water right now. Back? OK. Are you still hungry? If so, email someone you can confide in. Or eat a protein bar, or go microwave some broccoli. You know that will fill you up and do good things for your body and your goals. You don't want the broccoli? Then you're not hungry. 

You're saying "Screw it."

If you want to quit this journey, decide to quit and then you can eat pizza and drink beer every night. You an go out with your friends and eat hors d'oeuvres all night long. you won't feel good, but at least you will be free. 

So...is it the freedom that you really want? No. You're having a momentary lapse. Well, think about me. The one who preps all her food for the week on Sunday night, the one with abs, the one who's going to stand up on stage in front of 10,000 people and turn her back and stick out her butt. I'm the one who feels awesome in her clothes, the one who prances around the gym like she owns the place, the one who drags herself out of bed to do early morning cardio, the one who inspires her family, and friends. Think about what you're doing to ME, Strong [enter your own name], when you let a momentary "oh screw it" overtake and overcome all of the hard work I put in every single day, every time I go to a bar and wave off the waiter when he asks what I want to drink, every time I skillfully assemble a healthy, trap-free meal at a restaurant while everyone else orders fries and a third (or fourth...) beer or regular Coke.

And you know very well there's no such things as "Just One Bite."

Every single time you tell yourself you can handle having one taste of something, you're wrong. Is it because you're literally powerless in the face of sugar, is your insulin really swinging that hard that you can not resist? You know that you have a ton of self control. EVEN YOU (I obviously do). This isn't about saying no; by the time you've had the first bite of sugar, you've given UP on saying no. You're saying "yes," and you will continue to do so until it's time to go home or there is no more freakin' candy left in the bowl (did you REALLY want a Mounds yesterday? They're VILE!) So don't ever let yourself cross over into saying "yes" to junk. Say "NO" for HEAVEN SAKE!!

A message from me to you. 

I love you (even though you are the weak version of me) because we are the same person. You have a ton to be proud of and you should love the process and love how far you have come. You can go even farther, and you will be around less and less as time passes, you won't have to read this letter as often. You are strong inside, this is only temporary, and it will pass. Now go get a cup of water and get back to kicking ass. 

Strong [enter your name]

P.S. I'll be back tomorrow morning when you wake up. 

the GRIND.

"Looking cute ain't easy, and it don't taste good either."

Yep, sounds about right...

well, here I am...right in the thick of my training. Some days are good--I'm energized, excited and feel like I can take on the world...others, not so much. This past week has been a challenge, to say the least. As much as seeing my progress week after week uplifts me, there are times when I can't seem to shake  the exhaustion, the cravings, and I just feel overwhelmed.

Contest Prep is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, dedication and A LOT of sacrifice...You trade hours of sleep for hours of training and cardio. You trade the freedom to eat anything your heart desires for weighing out ounces of protein and veggies, caramel macchiatos for protein shakes, bacon cheeseburgers for oatmeal and egg whites...and all that restriction can start to tear away at you after a while....BUT I constantly have to remind myself--I'm also trading in the body I have for the body I've always wanted.

Yesterday, Coach told me he wants to get me straight to competition shape, then we'll have leeway later on...So in a nutshell, no cheat meals, no wiggle room for the next 62 days (or longer)...sigh. Yeah, I know I can do it. I know it's worth it. I know that at the end of it all I'll be happy with the results and I'll know deep down that I got there the right way. I know that if I were to trip up along the way and my progress slows, I'll only have myself to blame...and that simple thought is enough to keep me honest.

I know there'll be ups and downs along the way, just like there have been over my first month of training, but I know I can do it. In my moments of weakness, I tend to look to my fellow Angels and other IFBB Pros. These girls are my FITspiration and they remind me why I started on this journey in the first place...they did it and so can I!! :)

Tiffany Boydston
Sonia Gonzales
Amanda Latona
Jamie Baird 
Nathalia Melo