Try Something New!

I like to challenge myself. I like to learn – so I like to try new things and try to keep growing.

-David Schwimmer

I loooooove to try new things; it’s scary and fun!

If you are on a journey to live healthier, whether it is to eat better foods, get into better physical condition, or just to adapt a healthier lifestyle, it begins with having the courage to be open-minded to trying new things and a willingness to view life through a different lens.

I am so excited! Why? Because today I am trying not one, but two new recipes!! Heeey! I’m dancing around the kitchen. Lol!

To eat healthy and clean (as clean as possible), you have your staple food items (avocados, leafy greens, brown rice, quinoa, and more). However, the six meals a day can get boring really quick, so just like fitness, you’ve gotta mix it up!

This is suppose to be a quick post, so I’ve got get back to cooking, but check out the ingredients. I forgot to include the black beans and two other spices in the recipe, but everything else is included in the picture.

These ingredients may not look like much, but oh… wait until you see the results!

ingredients

I’ll chat with you later!  🙂

 

 


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’!



Thankful for a new workout routine!

For three steady weeks now, at least my upper or lower body has ached in a way that is unfamiliar to me. I consider myself to be a lifelong athlete and a fitness junkie. A daily jog for me is no less than eight (8) miles, and sometimes I feel guilty about that. I know- I am often told that I have issues and I’m in agreement. Self-awareness is good for the spirit. Denial is what’s harmful.

If you’ve read previous posts, you are aware that in June of this year, I was diagnosed with a severe case of runner’s nightmare aka plantar fasciitis. July and August is when I run at least six days per week. I’m not working and have the time to run longer distances without time constraints. So going an entire summer without running was more painful than the plantar fasciitis! Seriously!

Doctor prescribed steroids, the lack of exercise, and an increased intake of bud lime lights while floating in the pool (believe me the “light” didn’t make a difference), gave me a dose of reality!

By September my body responded by saying,

“So you think you’re all that? You’re over the 40 hump and your metabolism has slowed down dummy! Yeah, yeah, yeah, before you couldn’t gain a pound! Ha! Ha! The jokes on you! You just gained nearly 20 pounds.”

Reality set in when I returned to work and attempted to wear my professional attire. Yikes! Over a dozen pair of slacks and skirts came to a screeching halt just at the thighs! No amount of persuasion or work could get my pants or skirts to move beyond my hips. I was not a happy camper. Pure frustration!

Missing the Atlantic City Marathon in October and the weight gain was the wake up call that I needed! Although my body is conditioned and I kick out 13 miles with ease, I really need to evaluate my fitness routine. All running and nothing else is a recipe for a disaster. I badly needed strength training and more diversity to my program.

Speaking of recipes… I’m pretty good about eating a balanced meal; however, my diet needed revamping too. Below are pictures of some of my new daily treats.

Spinach, can tuna (in water), dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, fresh black pepper, crushed red peppers, and lime juice

Sample morning snack: fresh spinach, a turkey chop, & a chopped orange bell pepper. Yummy!Spinach, can tuna (in water), cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, lime juice with fresh ground pepper & crushed red peppers

About a month ago I decided to give myself an overhaul. I joined a gym and I’m now working out with Lisa, an excellent personal trainer. She is the perfect match for me. Lisa is fit and sets a good example of total body and mind fitness. While she has pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits and it’s only been three weeks, I am feeling stronger and better with each workout.

Lisa and I talked about my fitness goals and my daily diet. Immediately she saw nutritional deficiencies. She recommended, Eat Clean by Tosca Reno. I like this book. No, I LOVE the book. It is exactly what I need right now. The book compliments my attitude and committment toward food and proper nutrition. Eat Clean really clicks for me and connects new information with what I already know about good nutrition. The book is educational and is not a diet book. Dieting has never been my thing. It is about eating healthy for life, which works for me.

Since I’ve made some changes in diet and starting hitting the weights, I’ve noticed at least three positive changes:

1. I am drinking less coffee. Not because the book says, so but because I’m eating a high protein & complex carbohydrate breakfast at 5:30 a.m. The nutritious breakfast is providing a natural source of fuel so my body is not craving the caffeine like before

2. The midafternoon desire for a siesta has completely disappeared. Driving to pick my son up from school, I feel more alert than ever.

3. Even without a six or seven-day intense workout, I lost three pounds. Amazing!

I am a believer that a positive change or effect can always evolve from a negative situation; the outcome depends on each individual. In my case, it took a foot injury (negative) to force me to change my fitness routine (positive) and a better nutrition plan (positive). I already knew that my fitness program was due for a change and lacked strength training, but I kept putting it off. Ultimately a higher power saw fit that the change take place. I am thankful that I embraced the change.

If you have thoughts about working out, losing weight, or just eating better, I highly recommend the book.  For some the book will require or inspire you to give up a lot of unhealthy foods that you eat daily.  And for others, the book will enhance what you’re already doing.  Either case, it’s practical and worth the read.