Celebrating 30 Years of Pure Love!

Friendship. Dating. Relationships. Marriage. Their depth and meaning seem unrelated to when I met my husband 36 years ago.

Cell phones, smartphones, social media, dating websites, and the internet–they did not exist nor did they complicate or interfere in relationships.  Lives were more private.  Sharing too much (or any) personal information was taboo.   You only knew what others told you.  It was up to you to believe the story.

Weddings were less constructive but still intimate.  Today the process, even leading up to the big day is a professional production that costs thousands of dollars. The average cost of a wedding has skyrocketed.

To be honest with you, I often wonder who is the production for?  Is it for bragging rights and to galvanize wedding guests? Is the goal to outdo other couples?

The more important question I ask is, are the bride and groom willing to commit to the grit and tenacity needed to sustain a long-term relationship? Further discussions for the bride and groom are:

  1. What do you know about your partner/bride/groom’s family history? Have you met their family?  Do family values align? Do you like your partner’s family?
  2. What are your values? You must know know values before you can question his/hers.
  3. Do you want children?  Does your mate want children? If so, how many?
  4. Do you agree on the choice to have or not to have children and if not, are you willing to accept it?  Can you both accept opposing views on children? Note: You can’t change him/her!
  5. If you chose to have children, will they attend private school, public school, boarding school, or will the child(ren) be homeschooled?
  6. How will the children be disciplined?
  7. What do you believe about religion?
  8. Is your partner an atheist or agnostic? Do they believe in God, Allah, Buddha, or another higher power? How will the kids be raised?
  9. Where will you live? Close to family or away? City or suburbs?
  10. Will both of you work?  Who earns more money? Does it matter who’s salary is greater?
  11. Is one person’s career more important than the other?
  12. Is anyone bring debt to the relationship?  Who and how much?
  13. . Do you know your credit score? How about your son-to-be’s score?
  14. Do they have a child or children from a previous relationship?
  15. Child support?  Alimony? How much?
  16. What do you know about their health? Are there family health issues that you should know about?
  17. What are their personal and professional goals?
  18. What motivates them? What motives you?
  19. Did previous relationships/marriage fail? Why? Cheating? Adultery?
  20. What do you know about yourself and your personality type? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What about your partner?
  21. What does forgiveness mean to you?
  22. What do sex and intimacy mean to you? What does sex mean to your partner?  Do you like it? Does your partner like it? What are their sexual expectations? Do they align with yours? As my cousin says, “All sex ain’t good sex!”
  23. What are your attitudes toward money?
  24. Who will cook, clean, grocery shop, and handle finances?
  25. Will you have separate or joint bank accounts?

I have known many marriages to end over some of the above issues.

My husband and I met at ages 17 & 19.  We talked about many topics on the list but not everything and struggled with other issues.

Thanks to God, luck, maturity, and a handful smart folks around us, today we celebrate 30 years of marriage. The years were good. On a few occasions, I felt like we were drifting apart; however, before we stayed too far, we got back on track. When your mate is oblivious to trouble in paradise, you gotta let them know and visa verse.

Situations that sent me into a tirade years ago I now laugh at. No longer do I sweat the dumb shit. I’ve learned to say fuck it and move on and without the attitude.  I see my husband for whom he is not whom I want him to be.  I’ve accepted the good, bad, ugly, and the wonderful and the same for him.

Due to a health scare, nearly two weeks ago, I thought I was going to lose him forever. Our relationship passed before my eyes. Loss of our friendship and the thought of not making love to him one last time freaked me out. I had to remind myself to breathe and to think.

If have been married for any length of time, you know that marriage is a full-time job. Please feel free to comment and fill in the cracks where I missed.

If you are a newbie to the game, you might want to save this post and reread it and again and assess where you are in your marriage. If you are in a relationship and are pondering marriage, print out the list of questions and begin your work.

I can endlessly talk and write about marriage and relationships. My chatter about marriage is not to boast, because some marriages survive 30 years but demise before or after 40. You’re never safe in the marriage game. My ramblings are to help others.

Marriages are rarely given the chance. Couples give up on their marriages too soon and in some cases they give up because they never really knew the other. The fakeness of the honeymoon stage have couples trippin’ over stuff that ain’t real. In other cases, the signs are present in the person, but the partner either sees the behavior as cute or something they think they can change. Nope! The marriage takes place and ish begins to jump off.

We celebrate our 30 years by relaxing on the beach. We both enjoy the beach and never bought into what you’re “supposed” to do on specific anniversary date. We think of today and our four-day getaway as wellness days for our marriage.

Today I also give thanks to God for bringing us through teen-hood to full-fledge adulthood. Our friendship spans 36-years and for that I am grateful.

Happy Anniversary to us! 🙂

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My Figure Competition Recap

“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”

― Criss JamiKillosophy

Since last week, I have been trying to sort through and compose all of my fragmented thoughts into a coherent blog post. I’m not sure that I’m quite there yet, but here’s a try.

To transform or to convert is to change

Once you whole-heartedly commit to bodybuilding, you experience a shift in your thinking and ultimately your body will transform into another entity.

“Whole-heartedly,” means not just consistently working out inside the gym, but more importantly, taking responsibility for your actions at home in the kitchen, in the grocery store, during your lunch breaks at work, at family and friends homes, the local convenient store, and while sitting at the table dining in restaurants.

It means committing to educate yourself on every aspect of developing and improving your physique.  Want better…Learn better…Do Better… It’s an ongoing and never-ending journey.

Deviation away from the model is, well– less than 100% committed.

There’s no critiquing here– I am simply putting the truth out there.  In terms of fitness goals, you set your own goals.  What you put into it is exactly what you are going to get out of it.  The process is not as complicated as people make it.  Most people want it but are not willing to do what is required to get there and it’s okay if bodybuilding is not for you.

But if you really want to get in shape, the commitment is the same. Forget all the crazy quick fix programs out there, because they are not lifestyle changes.  They’re a band-aid; a temporary fix.  Eventually you will return to your old habits if not worse. Okay.. enough of my tangent.

I brought up the topic of “change” first because I am still flabbergasted by how bodybuilding has sculpted my 49 year-old body.

If you are new to my page, this was my second figure competition.  May 2014 was my first. I swore to myself that I would be a “one and done” competitor; however, I was wrong. My friend, who has and continue to help me reach my fitness goals, told me that I would do it again.  Ha!  She was right.

So this second go around was different from the first show.  After my first show, I continued training. The weight training, particularly, has become an extension of my lifestyle. I have worked out all my life; running, aerobics, martial arts, and CrossFit (which I still love!). Healthy living has always been a part of my life, but weight training has elevated my game.  Lol!  I love the results.

Second Show Musings

My decision to compete came about some time in December ’14 and only after nudging from my friend.  I figured, since I was already training, why not just do the show. The show was close to home and smaller than the Brick show.

The mechanics of how the body changes is an amazing process.  My first show was all about getting stronger so I could lift heavier and build muscle.  I never stopped training after the Brick show last year, so the strength was there and I could lift heavier.

On average, working around my son’s basketball schedule I trained three to four days per week; occasionally hooking up with my friend. The last two months, I worked out more like five days a week.

Seven Days Out

The week before the show, was hell! Yes, I said it!  Lol!

I weighed more going into it this time, which is good.  However, to lean out  I had to make two dramatic changes.

  1. Do cardio training twice a day
  2. Consume a strict diet of greens and proteins

During regular training, my daily caloric intake was 2400-2700.  By the week of the show, my caloric intake reduced to 2200.   Please don’t mimic this.  Every human body is different. What works for one person probably will not work for another.  This regime was completely different from my first show.

So what made the last week so ugly?

  1. Every morning after using the bathroom, I weighed myself, while hoping and praying I dropped at least a pound.  Chile,  this isn’t my normal!  I rarely get on a scale. My clothes pretty much tell me how what I weigh.  If my pants are tight, I gained weight, if they’re lose, I lost weight.   I didn’t like the anxiety that came along with the anticipation of meeting a “weight” goal. Ugh!
  2. I did cardio before work at 4 O’clock in the morning and after work!  “Cardio” consisted of 20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  What’s this?
    1. Something like….   25 jumping jacks; 10-15 push ups; 30 seconds of mountain climbers, planking then repeating the exercises for several rounds.
    2. I also used the treadmill:  Walking on an incline for a minute or two; running for a minute at a speed of 6.0, and then walking with no incline for a minute–then repeat.
    3. To mix it up and keep from getting bored, I incorporated Jacobs ladder and the beast The StairMaster
  3. Everyday I ate the same meal, chicken and spinach, every three hours: 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m.  chicken and spinachI was so darn tired of eating chicken and greens, I actually dreamed, maybe hallucinated, about eating ribs.  Hahaha! And I don’t even eat ribs, but I did in my dreams.  Oh yeah… You wanna know the worst part?  The damn chicken was NOT seasoned; neither was the spinach.  The bland spinach was okay, but the chicken– well you can imagine.  Half way through the week, I squeezed fresh lemon juice on the chicken; that helped a teeny-weeny bit. I don’t mean to gross you out, but when I pooped… that was dark green too!! TMI (too much information).. I know.
  4. I learned that water is a natural diuretic, which is why I drank so much of it. At one point, I was drinking two liters daily, but closer to the end of the week, I slowly decreased my water intake.

My body was literally under construction.  The cool thing is that everyday I saw subtle changes in my body.  My abs started coming through, and the muscles that I worked so hard to develop became more evident.

Note:  When you see photos online and in magazines of professional body builders, they have leaned out for the sake of the photo shoot.  Most bodybuilders do not walk around perfectly cut everyday.

Five (5) days out I was so wired.  Like hyped!  I don’t know why, but I had trouble focusing at work. I felt like I needed to go for a ten-mile run to settle down.  Lol!  I’m not sure if it was the diet, anxiety, a combination of the two or something else.  Thankfully, by Thursday, I was more settled.  I felt calmer but yet short on patience.  Hubby and B’Dazzle can speak on that.  🙂

Nearly every day, I practiced posing in the fitness room at the gym.

To critique my body positioning, I wore super short shorts and a sports bra.  You’d think I would be comfy with my body, but I was still aware of the guys who walked into the room to do crunches, to hit the bag or something else.  I learned to not care if they were watching. Wearing my ear buds, I’d “turn up and tune out”  turn up the music and tune them out.  Lol!  Occasionally I’d peep folks standing on the outside looking in!

I struggled with song selection. During the show/competition and after “pre-judging” each contestant is given the opportunity to strut their stuff for about 30 seconds. You can get very creative with this segment.  Small props can be used along with your favorite music.

While I had trouble coming up with ideas, my friend gave me a couple of cute ideas, but time and confidence was not in my favor, so I stayed with the basics.

My NEXT show–yup I said, it!  My “next’ show, I’ll do a little somin’-somin’  Heck I couldn’t even decide on one song.  I told my friend, “I’m not a stage performing” kind of girl. Give me a microphone and I will talk, but that’s it.   As a young girl, I wrestled and played football with the boys.  I didn’t take dance, gymnastics, or ballet, so coming up with some “girly” routine doesn’t come natural. I will definitely work on something for the next

Showtime

The day of the show, I woke up refreshed, but guess what?  Since I was only privileged to a “sip” of black coffee with no sugar, I skipped it.  I think I had like two ounces of chicken and a rice cake or two. Then the same thing a few hours later. Haahahahah!  I did talk about commitment right?  Actually, this wasn’t bad.

I was too busy trying to get my belly button re-pierced.  I think my friend hit the roof when I told her that on my way to the competition I was going to the parlor to get it done!  OMG!! Rightfully she was concerned about possible swelling or irritation.  My previous piercing got infected from the spray tan and closed.  I’d been meaning to get it redone, but… well, you know, my time is limited.  Anyways, I got it done.  I just had to have my belly ring for the stage.  Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems.  🙂   If you want something, go for it.

I arrived at the show and we (men and women) were jammed into a small room, where hair, make up, and muscle pumping took place. Although the event is a competition, most competitors are friendly.  I think there’s a deep level of respect because we all put the work in and made similar sacrifices.

Funny, I was the only black chick in this show. The show in Brick, NJ last year, had a hand full.  For whatever reason, we’re few and far between.  It doesn’t both me tho.  The first show I attended, as a audience member, I noticed that that there weren’t any women of color on stage– that is one of two reasons I decided to do it.  The other reason was out of pure curiosity of what I would like after training. Now I know! Hehe!

Walking on stage felt so good. I could hear my husband and friends in the audience cheering me on.  Talk about feeling empowered. I did have a hiccup tho.  I brought the wrong CD so I had to walk on a different song.  It wasn’t a big deal because my attitude as it relates to stage presence was in my head not in the music.  With that said, you bet it won’t happen again.

Overall I did well.  I was the only competitor in Master’s (40 years old and older), so I got first place.  I wish the division had others, but that’s for next time.  🙂

I placed second in Figure, Open B.  Due to the number of figure competitors, we were split into Group A and Group B.  I was in Group B and placed 2nd.  The top two winners in Group A & B competed; I placed 3rd in open.

Final Thoughts 

I was shooting for 1st in open.  I would be lying if I didn’t tell say that I was disappointed with my results, however disappointment is good for me.

Disappointment has made me assess all of the photos, mine and my competitors.

I critiqued my poses, my walk,  and my muscles to the T and know exactly what I need to do for the next show.

On the brighter side, I competed with and held my own against women who were much younger than I.  Now that sh** felt good!  Lol!

Equally as awesome is that many of these women are moms with kids.  One gorgeous competitor has five kids! Isn’t that wonderful!!  These women are empowered to care for their family and spouses, but also find time to engage in an activity that is important to them, which is what we all should be doing.

Don’t put your entire life on hold for your family; that’s ridiculous and, in the long run, you won’t be happy.  You think you will, but you won’t.  You’ll find out… maybe years later. Carve time out for yourself.  If you’re a mom and or wife, you will become a better person for doing so.  Life is short.  Yeah I know that’s a cliché, but it’s true.

Find your passion and go for it!  🙂

Back

My favorite picture from the competition.

 


Wake Up Committed

Good morning!

“I woke up like this…”

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“Commitment is pushing yourself when no one else is around.”

The gym was empty at 6 O’clock this morning. Yay!! Today was my first day back doing arms in over a month. I pushed hard and I am exhausted. Feeling drained and depleted of energy confirms my efforts.

Being away from the gym really sucked, but I am happy to return and need to remind myself to ease back into it. I’m not sure that I know how to ease into it. But I will listen to my body, it will tell me when to stop and when to rest.

After breakfast with hubby, I plan to do just that- rest.

Y’all keep it movin’ and have a wonderful day! 🙂


Random Cuteness

IMG_7254B’Dazzle is so handsome and is proudly wearing his first genuine leather men’s coat today!  My baby is growing up!

Saturday this fierce little dude held it down in his position as nose-guard for our township’s Junior Varsity Football Team!  He is lean, well-defined, weighs 86 pounds, and 4’9″ inches tall… And strong as a bull. It takes two and sometimes three football players on the defenders offensive line to stop him.  Saturday’s game was a good one, but his team, the Eagles came out on top with a win of 14-12.  Yay!!!

Who says size matter?  Haha! Athleticism is much to do about heart, will, determination, dedication, and drive….  He’s got all that and then some!

Did I mention that he eats all kinds of veggies, including the one’s most kids love to hate like spinach, zucchini, and asparagus?  When he’s in the kitchen with me, raw onions, garlic, and colored peppers are his favorite snacks.  Is his unusual strength genetics?  I don’t know, but I know that good nutrition in kids matter too.  The earlier you start most kids on veggies, the greater the chances they will eat more of them.

Happy Monday; I hope it was a good one!  🙂

 


Celebrating 26 Years of Marital Lessons

This is a revised post from last year.  A follower suggested that I expand on each lesson, so throughout the month of June, I will elaborate.

Twenty-six years ago, June 4, 1988, 3:10 p.m. I walked down the aisle of Second Baptist Church In Atlantic City, New Jersey to exchange wedding vows with hubby.

Not one clue did I have about the amount of patience, love, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication needed to sustain 25 years of marriage and 30 years of friendship.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I deeply loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How that would occur was a mystery that I would later sort through.

My father-in-law performed the ceremony, which made the day even more special. Although Reverend Cain died in 2003, the blessings he bestowed upon our marriage is still present today.

We were young and naïve but very committed to respecting and loving the other. I the extrovert; a crazy out going and out spoken hot-head. The contrast was my laid back introverted husband who internalized and mulled over everything before speaking. Talk about a contrast! I have wondered, “How on earth did it work?” Maturity, time, prayer, maturity, time, and more prayer helped immensely. I learned to speak less; he learned to speak more. Somehow we found a solid balance.

While I cannot speak for hubby, the past 25 years has been an enlightening journey for me. A personal journey that included bumps , bruises, detours, and exciting discoveries. Childhood relationships with my parents and between my mom and dad affected my relationship with my husband with great surprise. I saw glimpses of characteristics that I liked and that I disliked. The realization that I, and only I was empowered to make changes about myself that needed to be made was a relief. Cycles… some are meant to be broken. The fact is that we don’t have to repeat what has been done before us. Some family traditions should end.

Sadly, I closely witnessed the shattering of too many marriages. I have never judged other marriages or thought that my marriage was better than another. I did, however, extract the lessons that I could from the failed marriages around me. So often spouses point the finger of blame, but don’t ask what did they bring to the table. In turn, my reality check is to stare in the mirror and ask, how am I doing? Do I need to make adjustments? Have I fallen off course?

Sometimes there are issues that exist within me, which require me to adjust and make changes. Other times, the pulse of our marriage needs adjusting– I think of it (the pulse) as a heart rate– Neither too fast or too slow is not good. I strongly believe that at least one person in every relationship, should have their finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times. The pulse being, the pace and mode of the relationship. Is it steady? Is it regular? How’s the vibe? Is it positive? Do things feel out of sync? They are just questions that have worked for me.

My point is that marriage is not easy. Point blank, it is hard work and by no means do I claim to be an expert. We’ve been blessed for 25 years and I hope and pray that we are blessed we a good 25 more years. While reflecting on the years, I came up with many lessons that I have personally learned. While this list could be longer, I dedicated one lesson for each year of our happy marriage.

Lessons I learned from 26 years of marriage:

  1. I learned that speaking my raw opinion, without considering hubby’s feelings was inconsiderate and to think before I speak.
  2. I learned that no matter how “I preferred” he do things, hubby is entitled and will do things the way he chooses to.
  3. I learned that I can only change and improve myself and that’s what I ought to work on.
  4. I learned that when you marry your spouse, you also marry your in-laws.
  5. I learned that just because you create babies together, doesn’t mean you will share beliefs on how to raise them. Your ideas on child rearing will differ. Compromise.
  6. I learned that your spouse will do things behind your back and you will do things behind his back.
  7. I learned that, if you allow it, children can take the sex right out a marriage.
  8. I learned that one of the two will always appreciate romance more than the other.
  9. I learned that saying, “I told you so” is unnecessary.
  10. I learned that somebody ought to know how to cook a decent meal.
  11. I learned that you will like some of your spouses friends and you will despise some of your spouses friends. You opinion won’t change his relationship with his friends.
  12. I learned that married family and friends will divorce. Try to stay neutral. Your harsh words may return and bite you in the butt.
  13. I learned not to compare my marriage to another marriage. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you cannot predict the future (of yours).
  14. I learned that solid marriages are built on friendships. Maintain a friendship with your spouse.
  15. I learned to establish and maintain my identity and independence.
  16. I learned to become educated, even if you wish to be a stay-at-home.
  17. I learned to expect the unexpected.
  18. I learned to plan for the future, but live everyday in the present.
  19. I learned why older couples like my parents slept in separate beds. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point.
  20. I learned that the affirmation, “A women’s work is never done” is true.
  21. I learned that husbands and wives should have separate clothing closets and bathroom sinks.
  22. I learned that spirituality is important to a marriage.
  23. I learned that spouses who work hard as a team can accomplish amazing feats and can overcome incredible obstacles.
  24. I learned that spouses who hang out together are genuinely happier couples.
  25. I learned that your spouse is not a mind reader. Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want. Tell your spouse what you want.
  26. Although another year has passed since writing this list, I learned that if you have an open mind and an open heart, there are still things to learn from your spouse.
  27. Hubby and I have shared 26 solid good years. Were the years always perfect? No, but we’ve always managed to work through our differences in the most respectful ways and treat the other the way we wish to be treated. I am thankful for the 26 shares we’ve shared and pray for 26 more.

Have a fabulous day!!

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June 4, 1988

 

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

Spontaneous trip to Cancun--celebrating an anniversary

Spontaneous trip to Cancun–celebrating an anniversary

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at a family picnic.    Lol!

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at an outdoor park. Lol!  Look at those heads!

 

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NYE Late 90’s. I was permed back then… wish I knew better.


7 Takeaways From My First Figure Competition

 

Image credit:  Brian Zorn via Pinterest

Image credit: Brian Zorn via Pinterest

1. If you want something bad enough, you won’t make excuses. Instead you will   make the sacrifices & commit to go after it.”

It is one thing to set a goal and to say that you are going to do something. But it’s a totally different ball game to take action and to follow through day after day after day.

Standing in the kitchen cooking for five or more hours prepping food for myself and for my family, when I desperately wanted to blanket my tired behind over the sofa is commitment. For seven months, I did it.

Chugging down whey protein like a 560-horse power racecar sucks up gallons of gas and spending over $50 often on a 5 gallon jug for the sake of building muscle is commitment.  I’d much rather have spent the dollars on clothes or home décor, but my priorities shifted.

I have racked my brain to recall past experiences that required this level of commitment.

Only one period in my life compares. And that was my junior and senior year of college as an adult commuter student. I commuted 45 minutes to an hour to and from school. Some days I attended class twice a day; a morning class at 8 O’clock. Left school an hour and fifteen minutes later to attend work and then after work, at 5 p.m., I returned to school for a 3 hour class that ended at 9 p.m.

After class, I’d drive home, unpack, repack, and either read, write, or study until my 1 a.m. bedtime and repeat the cycle the next day.

When I look back on that time period, I wonder in amazement how I did it. Determination, faith, prayer and encouragement from family and close friends got me through it.

2. Proper weight training can reshape and sculpt the body.

Long distance running and eating healthy has kept me lean well into my 40’s. Before I started training for the competition, I was pretty much satisfied with my figure. Were there “hot spots” that I wanted to tweak? Of course! What woman is 100% satisfied with her body.

It took a good three to four months to develop strength. Gaining strength enabled me to lift heavier weight.

The heavier weight, weekly variation of exercise, and eating clean consistently, was the shock that my body needed to carve and develop muscle mass.

Not until colleagues, associates and friends being questioning and commenting about my body, that I realized changes were occurring.

What are you doing?  Your body looks different!  You look amazing!”

My clothes closet has turned into a huge stationary rack filled with jeans, dresses, jackets and more that no longer fit.

In seven months, we literally carved a new body. Weight, fat, and muscles are totally redistributed. My weight has slightly decreased, but I’ve dropped two clothing sizes.

3. You will do things in the future that you never imagined.

Lying bottomless on my side, holding a butt cheek while a technician methodically waxes the crack of my ass was NEVER on my to-do list. Seriously!  What public eye, let alone intimate partner care about what is back there?

I’ll tell you who?  The world of bodybuilding!  When you are on stage in that little thing called a swimsuit flexing and twisting, NOBODY wants to see pubic hairs peeking out!

Did I really have to go there with the wax?  Probably not, but… she was already down there and up close and personal in my Va-Jay-Jay (as Oprah calls it), so why get embarrassed now.  Besides, I thought she was finished, when she said, “turn over hon-ee.”  What?  Lawed!!  Did she want me to go on all fours?

She must have seen the terror in my eyes and said, “On yah side hon-ee!  Yah side!”  Obediently I turn, not realizing what was next.  She grabs my hand, slaps it on my butt cheek, “Hol tight right here!”  Umm… like a meek child… Okay.  Whoa there!!  Warm wax on the crack of the behind!  WTH!!  Surely I didn’t sign up for this.  LOL!!

The result?  Amazing!!

Do I recommend it?  Yes.

Why?  Swimsuit season is here and waxing last longer than shaving. The results are smoother and better. Gone are the worries of stuff slipping out from under the swimsuit.

4. Spray tanning is for ALL people.

I’m of medium/dark complexion and love my natural color.  Walking into a spray tan salon felt weird.  A guy and a girl, both white, were seated on the sofa.  I walk in.  They look at each other, and then look at me.  Could that have been imagination?  Maybe. I don’t know.

I’m eager to explain why I’m there.

“Hi, I have an appointment.  I’m competing in a bodybuilding competition…. blah…blah…blah.”

Okay.   Once I got that out, I felt better.   Why should I have cared? I shouldn’t have, but it just felt weird. You know; one of those awkward moments.

Do you want a guy or a girl?  Ha!!  Is she serious?  I’m comfy with my body and all, but I don’t need some young kid, my daughter’s age, all up in my stuff and critiquing my aging ta-ta’s.

Honestly, if they sat up like they use to, then I wouldn’t care, but that ain’t the case, so… give me a gal.  Besides she’ll know what her boobs will look after kids and 20 or so years.  She’d better enjoy them while they’re standing, because you cannot defy the laws of physics.  Ha-ha!  My mom says “aging is a bi***!” Lol!!

Anyways, once again I find myself naked in front of yet another stranger.  This time, I’m standing, legs and arms spread out. To achieve a complete and even tone, every nook and cranny has to get sprayed.  Who the heck knew? Never in my life did I think “I” would be doing this.

The spraying was kind of cool. The licensed technician used high-tech airbrush equipment to apply the tanning solution. She methodically sprayed my body from feet to face. The cool air that touched my body felt good, but did not stop sweat from rolling down my armpits and inner thighs.

After the spray, I was led up and into an enclosed booth where I’d “baked” under ultra violet lights for four minutes. The booth is not for the claustrophobic. I’m not claustrophobic but closed my eyes and told myself to breath and relax.  Only about a foot stood between me and lights. Tight quarters.

The result was gorgeous!! I was beautifully and evenly bronzed from head to toe.  And I didn’t even have to buy a plane ticket. Pretty cool. Will this become a habit? No, but I would do it again, if I were going to a nice affair during the winter, and wanted to wear my back out. It was ignorance on my part to not realize that people of color spray tan. Smh!

5. To achieve maximum fitness, you have to constantly “mix it up!”

All of the running in the world will not duplicate the muscle, definition, and tone that I have now.

Throughout the seven months of training, my body was in a constant state of shock.  No two workouts were identical but every workout was a test of my will.

I grew accustom to waking every morning with stiff and sore muscles. It’s par for the course.

Creativity and variety is essential to weight training. For each muscle to develop, every aspect of the muscle has to be worked.

My hour and half running sessions were reduced to 20-30 minutes of cardio, limited to a few days a week.

The change in my workout routine took some getting used to, but slowly I saw changes in my body and began to understand the process.

My thoughts of working out are forever changed. My new regimen will include weight training, crossFit, some jogging and yoga! I know better so I will do better.

6. Even the most confident person can become insecure.

Family, friends, and colleagues who know me, would never say that I lack in confidence. Though confident I am never over-confident, arrogant, or cocky about anything.

Weight Training definitely highlighted my insecurities. Walking on to a gym floor and seeing, what appears to be, fit and knowledgeable members can be overwhelming and intimidating.

As a result of my friend and trainer’s pre-planned vacation, I had to work out for one week alone. I was scared.   Afraid of what? I was fearful of people looking at me thinking I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Normally I don’t care what people think, but the new experience launched a bunch of new unexplored emotions. Would I lift the weights properly? Would someone be off in the corner laughing at me?

The answer to those questions and others are irrelevant because it really doesn’t matter! Unfortunately our society dictates the daily judging of others. Sadly, the current craze of trash reality TV is a good indicator.

For a week, I went to the gym alone, listening to music, glancing at my notes and doing my thing. No one paid me any attention, if they did, I didn’t notice because my focus was on my workout.

Walking on stage in five-inch stilettos and a tiny two piece in front of a couple of hundred people can rattle the most confident person.

As the Training Employee & Development Manager of a gaming hall, years ago, I instructed new hires to “fake it til you make it!” The “it” being the friendly and outgoing personality that all employers were expected to display while on “stage” meaning in front of customers.

I’d like to think that when prompted by my song, “Talk Dirty” by Two Chains started playing; I walked across the stage like I’d done it before. I think I did okay because I placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in three different categories.

7. Goals may change quicker than expected.

You know just as well as I that, goals change. However, I was very confident that I would compete in just one competition.

“One and done!” I said.

Even hubby wasn’t feeling a second show.   It took less than a week for me to resolve that I needed to compete again. I kept the thought to myself and didn’t say anything until a text exchange with my friend (trainer).

One day out of the clear, hubby says,

“If you compete again I’ll buy your next suit!”

Whiplash! That’s how fast I turned to look at him. Wow!! He’s been bit by the same darn bug!

The astonishment of what we accomplished in 7 months, has piqued my curiosity. Even my friend pondered, “Imagine what you’d look like with a year of training!”   Hmm…

So yes, I will compete again, but have not decided on which show. For now, I’ll continue to weight train, catch up on some CrossFit, get some spin in, and squeeze in a weekly yoga class.   Remember, all things are possible.

Thanks so much for stopping by. :0)

Y’all keep it movin’!