Visions And Fragmented Thoughts

Parts of compelling posts sit in my draft box collecting cyberdust, waiting for fresh words to complete them. Good intentions will eventually compel me to sit still long enough to edit and publish my drafts.  

I started this post the weekend or just after the Super Bowl.  Umm… Today is February 27th.  Seriously this is my umpteenth attempt to publish it.  Lol!  I tell myself it’s Life girl… Don’t take it too serious.  I am thinking, 

If I don’t publish this piece today, it probably won’t happen.  ūüė¶

Why?  Next week I start Grad school!  I am so excited!!  I found a program that has my name written all over it:  Wellness & Lifestyle Management.  ūüôā   School will affect my down time, so I know it may cut into my social media /blog time.  But all is well. I will continue to post when I can.

Meanwhile, this post includes snippets of wandering thoughts culminating from the start of the new year.  

D i s a p p o i n t m e n t    

I am  a little disappointed with myself. Why?  Fowl play… Look!!!  OMG!
 

A non plant based protein source!
  
 

The yellow gadget is new.  I stumbled on it at BJ’s for $5 and change.  This pretty little object is a juicer.  I have not seen one before but it’s very effective and super easy to use.  Slice a lemon in half and place face down in juicer.  Press the lever and squeeze.  The juice–not the seeds–flow like you are pouring it out of a juice bottle.  Love it!  #goodfind

My good intentions of going Vegetarian lasted about five weeks. I was doing exceptionally well. Eating only fish, legumes, quinoa, and other protein sources. I did experience a weak moment one day with my friend Michelle. I cheated and ate one‚Ķ or two, well cooked, juicy and flavorful honey barbecue wing flings.  

Super Bowl weekend rolls around and‚Ķ I want to blame my actions on lack of time, however, the fact is, we make time for what is important to us, so I am owning my choice to buy, cook, and eat the chicken breast. It is so much easier to blame our decions on someone or something, but I shouldn‚Äôt. So, there. I said it.  

On Saturday (the day before the Super Bowl), I felt bad and I felt guilty about buying the meat. 

Fear of not consuming enough protein in the upcoming week stirred up feelings of desperation. 

Muscles are built in the kitchen. Throwing weights up on the gym floor is only a part of the equation. 

On Sunday, as I squeezed fresh lemon juice on the chicken breasts, I tried to come to terms with my decision. I asked myself, 

‚ÄúWhy are you trying to be so damned perfect?  And why are you stressing?”

I realize that becoming a vegetarian is merely a journey. 

journey – [jur-nee]

1.a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip:

2. a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling:

3.a period of travel:

4.passage or progress from one stage to another:

‚Äú…from one stage to another.‚ÄĚ  

Training for my first figure competition was a journey. I experienced ups and downs and made adjustments along the way.

The process of going natural involves many stages. Determining one’s hair type. Finding the right product and product combination. Discovering techniques that work. Gains and failures… you push through it.

I don’t why I thought transitioning into the world of vegetarianism would be any different. I understand now. This week chicken. Next week I will return to plant based protein.

F U N

We shunned the traditional Super Bowl party this year. Instead a handful of close friends came over to watch the game with us.

Since I enjoy healthy and clean eating, no one expects to get any real sweets and treats from me, but on Sunday I surprised them with a Pinterest inspired mini candy station.  ūüôā 

   
   

To appease the fans on both teams, I bought a cake which displayed both team logos. Hubby’s birthday was the following day so during half time, we sang him Happy Birthday.  

P R O G R E S S    

   

                                                                            This picture was taken last week (January 2016).

My shoulders are growing!  Yay!  

I have been mostly working out alone, without my friend, so I have learned to push and challenge myself more.  I WILL  compete again; probably in the spring so I’m working hardER to better develop certain areas such as my quads.  Each time I walk on stage, I want to look better than the last time. ūüôā

V I S I O N S

Right before the new year, me and a few friends hooked up to create Vision Boards.  With everyone being so busy with kids, family, work, grandkids and more, we decided to start 2016 out by having more focus.

A vision board is a visual creation of your goals and your dreams.  Using pictures, images, or whatever you find to create a reminder is what you set out to achieve.  There is no right or wrong way of doing it. My one friend purchased a large picture frame [excellent idea], so she could hang hers in her bedroom.  I used a foam board, my daughter cut hers out… It doesn’t matter, as long as it works for YOU.  

      

      

  
 

Creating the vision boards was a fun, relaxing and a productive activity. We’re all chipping away at our 2016 goals. My board is in my bedroom.  

Seeing the board every morning motivates me to do at least one activity each day, which will move me closer to accomplishing a goal. 

M O R E  F U N

The best Christmas present ever!  When I opened the box, a few weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that the telescope needed assembly.  But I am proud to say I put it together all by myself.  Assembly is usually hubbies department. 

Since I took an astronomy class in college, I have wanted a telescope.  For Chrismtas,  hubby gave me one.  I didn’t think he was paying attention when I said I wanted one.   How cool is that? 

I am excited because our backyard is the perfect backdrop for viewing the skies.  To help us to learn learn the what’s,  the why’s, and the how’s, friends bought us an astronomy book. I told our son, that we must read the book first, then we can get busy with viewing the stars. ūüôā

I am officially ending this post.  

Happy Saturday and thanks for stopping by!   Smooches!

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Not So Pretty in Pink

This Kellogg’s Special K Protein shake was gifted to me from the heart of a loving woman.


In my last post, I expressed a little attitude (my opinion) toward  food manufacturers and their attractive but deceptive advertising practices.

When I wrote the post, this shake is the type of food I had in mind. ¬†This package is dolled up like it’s a birthday gift or something. ¬†Lol!! ¬†There is no doubt in my mind that the target market is women whose goal is to lose weight and/or maintain a healthier lifestyle.

The pink is overkill and offensive to me. ¬†I could take this post to another level and compare the packing of a similar project to our male counterparts, but I won’t. Sigh!

With so much talk about “protein” in the fitness world, no wonder it is the focus of this product.

Come on ladies!!  Get your protein!  The woman who purchased this for me is aware of my fitness passion.  While her intentions were good; there is no way, I would drink this crap.

Of course Kellogg’s want you to believe that the protein in this beverage is going to “satisfy your hunger.” Yeah okay, right! Wink..wink. ¬†How the heck is a 10 ounce bottle of this stuff gonna satisfy my hunger before or after a workout?

While plant and animal based proteins are the most satisfying, I am certain that this 10 ounce beverage is not going to do it for you… ¬†That’s just my opinion.

Look at the label. 18 grams of sugar!!  Whoa!

Sugar is the devil and is linked to so many preventable illnesses.¬† Make sure you read Kristen Kirkpatrick‘s¬†article, 1o Things You Don’t Know About Sugar. ¬†I hope that it is an eye-opener for you.

Since I don’t know what some of the ingredients are, I ¬†decided to read up on a few.

1. ¬†Maltodextrin –¬†A popular used food additive, which is “derived from a plant,” is a highly processed starch. ¬†According to Healthline,

maltodextrin may come from corn, cornstarch, rice, or potato starch.  It can also come from wheat.  The starches are cooked then acids or enzymes are added to break it down further, before resulting in a white powder.

While the packing suggests the drink is gluten free,  relative to Malt0dextrin,


Someone with celiac disease should use caution when consuming maltodextrin and should consult their physician.  You should also know that this addictive is commonly found in nutritional drinks, sugar substitutes, granola, coffee, commercially baked goods, even those labeled gluten-free, pie fillings, sauces, puddings salad dressings, candy, chocolate, sugar substitutes, canned fruit (Eeeew), gelatin, and prepared soup products.  Read labels!

2.¬†Polydextrose – ¬†Two words: ¬†synthetic fiber. It was patented in 1973 and approved by the FDA in 1981. ¬†Although it is not grain fiber, the FDA¬†classifies¬† it as “soluble fiber.” ¬†Personally I would rather get my fiber from a natural source such as oatmeal (steel cut oats), beans, brown rice, brown rice and vegetables.

3. Natural & Artificial Flavors – The FDA describes artificial favors as a substance that ¬†“…..is NOT derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish poultry, eggs, dairy products….” ¬†Do you see strawberries listed anywhere in the ingredients? ¬†Nope! ¬†But lovely images of strawberries are plastered all over the the product. Really?!?

4.¬†Gellan Gum¬†– This is a microbiological gelling agent that serves the purpose of thickening or “anti-settling agent. It does not alter taste but is commonly used in soups and sauces. ” You can read about the effects of Gellan gum in humans here.

5. Potassium Citrate – Livestrong reports that PC can be found naturally in foods, but is also used as a food additive to stabilize foods and to regulate their acidity levels. ¬†For a list of foods that naturally contain potassium, click¬†Here.¬† Potassium Citrate is also used as a prescription medication used for several medical conditions, including kidney stones. Learn more ¬†about potassium at one of my favorite sites,¬†The world’s healthiest foods.

6. Cellulose Gum – ¬†Oh boy, this one is a real winner! ¬†Of course, it’s an addictive. But guess what? ¬†It comes from¬†Wood pulp or cotton lint. ¬†The FDA approved this drug and reports that the drug is safe for human consumption. ¬†Hmm…

7. Carrageenan –¬†Another food stabilizer and thickening additictive. It keeps yogurt smooth and creamy and is commonly used in dairy and meat products. ¬†It is said to have a strong binding ability. There are articles that are pro and con carrageenan, but this is one ingredient that I have been avoiding for over year now.

Carrageenan appears to be natural because it is actually extracted from seaweed; however, it is in the processing that changes into a “degraded”carrageenan. ¬†Stay with me here. ¬†In some experiments it has been linked to inflammation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer list degraded carrageenan as a possible carcinogen. ¬†Lab studies have also shown that it can induce inflammation.

Carrageenan can also be found in many organic foods.  I was disappointed and shock to read from Cornucopia Institute that:

carrageenan may be present in the final product but not listed on the ingredients label when it is used as a processing agent.

Yikes!! ¬†You don’t have to take my word for it, do your own research and decide for yourself. ūüôā

8. Red 3, Yellow 6, Blue 1 – Food coloring.¬† Ugh.. The Dyes!!¬†¬†This really needs to be post of its own. ūüė¶

Nutritionfacts.org reports that,

 Fifteen million pounds of food dyes are sold every year in the US.

Food dyes are used to make food visually more appealing to consumers. Reds are brighter, greens are greener, etc… And in the case of this strawberry protein shake, which does not have any strawberries in it, the dye deceptively ¬†gives it a pink color which tricks you into believing that the beverage contain strawberries. ¬†Smh!

There is a plethora of controversy over food dyes.

Red #1, #2, and #4 all have been banned, but #3 is still used today. Multiple studies suggest food dyes are linked to ADHD, certain types of cancer and other illnesses.

Yellow #5  and #6 are also of concern, especially to parents of young children.  Studies have shown increased hyperactivity in children who are exposed to the dyes.

When our son was younger, I witnessed the effects of food dyes on his behavior, and decided to limit his exposure. ¬†Hence, he was no longer permitted to eat any foods before school that had any traces of food coloring. ¬†This decision helped him to focus better in school. Hubby wasn’t convinced until he witnessed the effects one day during football practice.

It was our son’s birthday, so earlier in the day, he enjoyed cake and cupcakes that were slathered in red and blue icing. Later during football practice, it was obvious that he had trouble controlling himself.

He aimlessly and recklessly tackled teammates when he was instructed not to. We watched him repeatedly roll around on the field like he was on fire or something. With his arms high in the air, the coach who was very frustrated, walked over to us and asked, “What the hell??”

I laughed. ¬†I apologized. ¬†Then I explained the reasons for his behavior. It was so uncharacteristic behavior of our son that the coach was literally scratching his head. ¬†I remember looking at my husband and asking him, “Now do you believe me?” ¬†LOL!! ¬†I think it was at that moment that he understood the affects of sugar and food coloring on our son.

Blue #1 and #2 are listed as another food coloring of concern. In addition to asthma, ADHD comes up again.  There is a pattern linking ADHD to various food coloring.

Although there is so much to say about¬†this beverage and other foods, I think you get my point… READ LABELS.

The more informed you are, the better choices you can make for you and your family.

Thanks for dropping in and Happy Tuesday!



14 Principles To Less Stress

Two weeks ago was Stress Awareness Day.  I had good intentions of posting but daily life took over and until today, the post remained a draft.

Since mom says I sugar coat everything,  I am just going to say it, stress is a real mother****** !

Former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson was known for delivering speedy and powerful punches that resulted in his opponents on their back floored and confused wondering what the hell happened.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Well honey, stress will do the same thing, except slower. Been there done that; trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

Experiencing subtle chest pain, random heart palpitations, and/or loss of sleep are just a few indicators that you may be experiencing stress.

Just because you’re not experiencing more of the common systems, doesn’t mean that your body is not experiencing stress.

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) published a list of 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress.Your body is speaking to you; listen to your body. Avoid the  mistake I made 22 years ago.

At 27 years old, throughout my work week, I experienced more than half of the symptoms. Too busy trying to be supermom, super wife, attending night classes, and managing a front office at a hotel, I ignored every damn symptom.  I thought my daily adrenaline rush was normal.

“Normal” it was not. Living short on patience and cursing folks out at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and neither is it okay.

I was young! ¬†Chile please! ¬†Who has heart attacks and strokes at 27? ¬†Not me!! That mess wasn’t on my radar.¬†¬†I was slim, managed to run¬†and practiced¬†Tang¬†Soo Do!

I was oblivious and numb to what I felt. I did not understand why I felt the way I did.  As far as I was concerned, my daily adrenaline rush and fast paced day where, I cursed at least one person, by the days end was my norm.

If you don’t recognize the symptoms and figure out how to slow down, eventually your body will stop you dead in your tracks. it doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, stress is stress and will slowly and methodically break the body down.


To reduce your stress, try these 14 tips:

  1. Use a calendar¬†– If you don’t already record important dates on a calendar, start this immediately. ¬†I like to use my smart phone, it works better than a date book. It has reminders. Add¬†every¬†event, doctor appointments, nail appointments, kids games, practice etc… ¬†By doing this, you will have a clear picture of your real availability.
  2. Learn to say No!¬†– You don’t have to attend every party or event you are invited to. ¬†Look at your calendar and realistically decide if the event fits into your day. Ask yourself, How long is going to take me to get there? Do I need a baby sitter? ¬†Do I have a class or work? ¬†If it doesn’t fit, politely decline. If the person gets upset with you, perhaps it is time to evaluate your relationship with them, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Assess relationships РEvaluate the people in your life, including family. Think about how you feel when you are around them. Ask yourself, Are they positive influences?  Do they bring positive or negative energy your way? What are they doing with their life? Are they happy? When you are around them, do they make you feel good or bad?                                                                                                        
  4. Do the dirty work¬†– With respect to rule #3, if you recognize that a person or people in your life are bringing you down, man up and do what has to be done. Phase them out of daily life. To end the relation, you don’t have to have a knock down-drag¬†out fight. Just stop calling them, don’t invite them over and stop hanging out with them.¬†¬†I’m serious!! Life is a journey of peaks and valleys. ¬†No one is exempt from the highs and lows in life; however,¬†people who are¬†always negative–Debbie Downers and Negative Neds– Using an oversized lifelike straw, they suck the life and energy right out of you. Quick!! ¬†Run!!! ¬†Let them go! ¬†They won’t understand. ¬†Eventually they may ask. ¬†If they do, tell them the truth, but be nice about it. ¬†“I just couldn’t take your energy.”
  5. Effectively plan each week –¬†Periodization is a concept used in strength training, that trainers use to help clients reach their fitness goals. Over simplified it is planning in phases for long-term performance. To accomplish your personal or professional goals, you can take the same approach. ¬†Write a plan and strategically work towards it. Before your week begins, look closely at your schedule. Some days your schedule will be tighter than others; plan for these days. Example: ¬†During football season, our schedule is regimented, so I plan our family meals. On Sunday, I cook larger family meals so there are a couple of days of leftovers. I buy the large size take out styrofoam plates from BJ’s or Sam’s Club, so when necessary, he can eat on the run. No plates, no dishes, no take out, no wasting money, and best of all, healthier meals! ¬†Planning ahead like this, keeps you ahead of your game and avoids putting you in the stressful reaction mode.
  6. Mind YOUR business! ¬†– Don’t make everybody’s problems your problems. We’ve all been there. ¬†You know a family member or friend who just ain’t living right and they always have drama going on. ¬†“She needs to do this!” ¬†“She ought to be doing that!” ¬†“If it were me….” ¬† Stop it!!! ¬†It ain’t none of your business,¬†stay in YOUR¬†lane. Nobody designated¬†you¬†as the official problem solver. Deal with and fix your own ish!
  7. Mind YOUR money!¬†– An inability to manage your money can be a huge stress. It’s a basic concept. ¬†Live within your means and avoid trying to impress others with your ish! ¬†Grown and mature folks don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive, designer handbags, expensive shoes, or where you live. ¬†My car is 9 years old. The flaps on my running boards came off, she doesn’t have heated seats, but she has heat and air. ¬† The ride is decent, but she’s PAID OFF! ¬†So when a driver of a luxury car pulls up to me, I celebrate¬†their¬†pleasure and mine. ¬†ūüôā ¬†When the time is right, I’ll have my “dream” car, but for now, I’m minding my money. ¬†As my friend says, “All that glitters ain’t gold!” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
  8. Stop putting out other folks fires! –¬†Recognize that¬†their emergency is not¬†YOUR emergency. ¬†Lol! I used this philosophy all the time. The lack of planning on someone else’s part does not have to be your problem. ¬†I am all for helping others, but for some people, their emergencies are more OFTEN than NOT. Sympathize, empathize and everything else, but it’s their problem to solve not yours. The time and energy you spend bailing them out will ultimately mess up your day and you may end up feeling stressed.
  9. Make time for you – Care for yourself first. What are your interests? Do you have a hobby or want to go back to school? ¬†Whatever your interest, do it! ¬†Even if it means your kid has to take one less activity, do it. Life is too short and too uncertain to put your life on hold until your child finishes school. ¬†Tomorrow isn’t promised is a clich√© but its meaning is bona fide. Your family will benefit from your happiness.
  10. Meditate – The mind, body and spirit improves with meditation. ¬†You don’t need an hour or even 30 minutes… ¬†Start by finding 15 minutes in your day. ¬†Once it becomes routine for you, you’ll figure out the best time and where you can meditate for longer (if you chose). ¬† The Rest & Relax Guided Meditation App is my favorite. At $1.99 it’s worth it. ¬†You pick your music, desired length of time and the session is guided. It’s a great application that can help you get started.
  11. Eat well – You are going to feel exactly how you eat. Eat crap and you’re going to feel like crap-there is no getting around it. If you listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel, you will understand what I am saying. ¬†Regardless of your fitness goals, try to eat a balanced diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and water daily into your diet. Minimize or avoid excessive sugary drinks and food, alcohol, packaged foods, fried food, and fast food. ¬†Destroying your body with poor nutrition will eventually lead to illness such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
  12. Exercise¬†– You don’t have to be a fitness junkie like me, but incorporating exercise 3-4 days per week can have an positive impact on your quality of life. ¬†Walking, weight training, yoga, running, CrossFit, aerobics, Zumba… just move. ¬†To keep fitness interesting and fun, add a variety of workouts to your program. Find a gym or trainer that is right for you and an informed one that can help you meet¬†your fitness goals and STICK WITH IT. Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, your heart benefits and will function more efficiently.
  13. Sleep РThe body  needs REST.  Going to bed late every night is counter productive to healthy living. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.                                                   
  14. Get annual physicals¬† – No matter how well you feel or look, get your annual check ups. ¬†For ladies, that means, OBGYN’s, Mammograms, a general¬†practitioner, and an eye exam. That’s a lot right? ¬†Men have it easier. Lol! ¬†Prevention is key. You might feel well, but something still could be wrong. There are many diseases such as breast and uterine cancer, that are silent and don’t exhibit symptoms, so keeping up with annual doctor visits can save lives.

I’ve been told that I smile a lot and I do! ¬†ūüôā ¬† That’s because I live a simple life. ¬†The less complicated, the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I live by the 14 principles, which sometimes requires tough decisions, but I do what I have to do, to maintain happiness and balance in my life.

Do you have other tips that you use to deal with stress? ¬†I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and make it a fabulous day! ¬†ūüôā


Children Model OUR Behavior

Mom, can I make an omelet when we get home?

The time is just around 3 O’clock ¬†Sunday afternoon. ¬†This kid loves eggs. ¬†Oh my goodness! To further persuade me, he goes on to say,

There’s protein in the egg. ¬†I need my protein after my workout…

LMAO!!  How on earth can I say no to that?  Hahaha!

Omelet and tobasco

Here’s what’s left of his 3-egg omelet. ¬†That red stuff is Tabasco Sauce, which he’s been eating since he was around 6!

On the weekend, B’Dazzle participates in a rigorous football conditioning camp. I like the program because the coaches push him beyond his limits. Like me, he doesn’t always realize his full athletic potential.

The camp is an intense hour of various drills sprinting, running ladders, crawling, pushing sleds, wrapping, and more.  I like it because there is no slacking, horse-play, or performing half-ass. Before the boys walk in the door, the bar is raised and they know exactly what type of performance is expected of them. Makes for a great work ethic.

In an hour’s time, the boys burn an enormous amount of calories! It is important to their growth and development that after practice, they fuel up and replace the calories burned. While my son is young with an active metabolism, I still stress, to him and to hubby, that he eats “good” ¬†food instead of¬†filling up on empty, high fat, and sugared calories. Even though I cringe, an occasional slurpee isn’t going to kill him. ¬†I hope not! Lol! ¬†Okay so you know, I had to sneak a peek!! Read More


My Figure Competition Recap

‚ÄúPersistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Criss Jami,¬†Killosophy

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. ¬†ūüôā

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. ¬†ūüôā ¬† 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. ¬†ūüôā

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 clich√©, but it’s true.

Find your passion and go for it! ¬†ūüôā

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My favorite picture from the competition.