Sunday, August 31, 2014

train smarter

Piggybacking off my last post, and what people most ask about is the diet and exercise part of prep!

Keep in mind, I can't give away specifics. I pay my coach good money for her plan! And she designed it especially for me and my body and my goals. But there's some very important and awesome things I learned this time competing that many people can find beneficial.

Also, yes I started out in pretty good shape. I've been training for years! My lifestyle is healthy, and if it weren't, this would have been a much harder process.

Bikini prep:
The bikini division is fairly new- like, I dunno 5 years? It was created to add a new dimension to bodybuilding for women that wasn't as muscular as figure, but still demonstrated fitness with a "softer," (and I say that loosely because they're still pretty lean and ripped!) more feminine look.
The pros, to me, look AMAZING. On a local level, here in Utah, all I saw for a long time was skinny girls (do you even lift?!) winning shows. Not for me. Duh.

But it's gotten better, and I wanted to see how I could switch my physique to a little bit slimmed down version. But let it be known: BIKINI GIRLS LIFT!!

I can proudly say I never missed a workout. Not for road trips/traveling, not while on vacation, never. It's habit, I just don't skip it, there's no excuses.

I hit every muscle group every week.
One day was shoulders, another glutes and hamstrings, etc. I did cardio most days of the week. And here's the kicker- My cardio the ENTIRE prep was never over 30 minutes a day. I'm so grateful for that.. NOBODY has time to be in the gym for like 3 hours. I'm a mom, I have a real life outside of fitness.
K there are sooooo many coaches who give their girls 1000 calories, no carbs, and say go run for 90 minutes every day til your show. And you'll win.
At the cost of your metabolism. That's crap and it's miserable and if you have a coach that says that, RUN. No trophy or title or "bikini-body-for-a-day" is worth that.

I love lifting weights so that was no hard adjustment. Not saying it wasn't "hard," because you gotta push it and get uncomfortable if you wanna grow! And lift HEAVY! Don't think you can pick up 5-pound dumbbells, do a few lunges, and transform your backside!
My reps and sets and cardio changed when my coach told me to change them. During prep, I sent Robyn weekly pictures so she could see how progress was coming. And having seen the stage pictures back, I can see some areas that I need to improve still.

So in bikini division, you gotta push the glutes hard- get em up and tight! (Flat butts do not win, I promise you that). But a lot of judging is also based on your silhouette, and if your body is in proportion. I struggled A LOT thinking I was too muscular. In fact, 4 days out, I was practicing posing and literally had a breakdown because I didn't feel I was looking how I needed to in order to place well. I thought I'd step out on stage and people would think I should be doing figure.

And also, I am a Quadzilla. I rarely even work my quads and calves, and they are massive. (Ex-gymnast curse maybe). Plus it doesn't help that I have the shortest legs in the world. So I was super self-conscious about that. In future shows, I might have to see what (not) to do if I need to slim them down. Also I worked hamstrings more than I ever have in my life. I really wanted that glute-hamstring tie-in showing, but didn't quite get there. Not yet anyway..

In a nutshell.. Trainer harder, and smarter, but not longer. That's how I like to do it =)

Friday, August 29, 2014

finding a coach

Most people who compete already know this, but a personal trainer vs. competition prep coach are 2 different things. I got my degree in exercise science and went on and got CPT certified, but I would not feel comfortable nor qualified to get someone ready for a show. There's a lot of nutrition tweaking especially those final weeks and you need someone who really has expertise in that area!

A year or so ago, I met with a prep coach who I know is really awesome. I was still losing the baby weight but he was really encouraging and I could tell he knew his stuff, and when I decided to compete, I figured I would hire him. A few months later, I met with him again, and the visit went really weird. I had been working out hardcore on my own, felt like I was making really good progress, getting fit and leaner, and he told me I was not lean enough to even *start* a 16-week prep, and if I did, there would be no room for error. He also gave me a number for a plastic surgeon... because I showed him my separated abs (from pregnancy).
I think this was coach was having an off day (he shall not be named because I know he's really a great guy and coach), but I left that visit SO discouraged. He showed zero faith in me, and made me feel like I was giving him nothing to start with. (And what kind of trainer tells you you should go get surgery?!)

And from that, I discovered something about myself:
If you tell me I'm not good enough, or I can't do something, I might cry about it for a minute (or a day), but that fuels a fire of motivation to do everything I can to prove you wrong.

Meanwhile, I had another trainer friend who I'd met from my previous competition named Robyn. I wish I had known from the getgo that she was offering competition prep because she had been after me for a while to compete again! I'd run into her at the gym and she was so cute and so encouraging. I decided I would eventually hire her.

Long story short, I moved to Texas with my husband's job, decided to compete out there, and contacted Robyn. I sent her my current picture, at 9 weeks out from a show (which is not very long), and she told me I could do it. It's go time.

People, listen up. Coach #1 may have been right, that I wasn't ready for prep, which is not what I wanted to hear, but when it came down to it, I wanted a coach that believed in me! I remember thinking to myself, "I'm going to prove you wrong, and I'm going to compete with someone else as my coach, and I'm going to beat your clients at my show. I can be feisty sometimes.

These are the pics I sent to Robyn, when we started at 9 weeks out, long distance while I was in Texas for the summer. (We did all our prep through texting, pictures and email!)
( I would love to point out also, that the scale is pointless. There is only a 6-pound difference from beginning to show day. I will elaborate another day ;)

Show day, backstage

Didn't have surgery, didn't do anything crazy, but me and Robyn were a good team and were successful! And now she's off this weekend to compete at her show in Pittsburgh, trying to win her pro card!! So excited for her! And if anyone is interested in her info, here's her website =)

She offers all sorts of training and fitness coaching not limited to competition prep and she's pretty much amazing and practices what she preaches.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From figure to bikini

Competing... again

People often ask how I got involved in fitness competitions so here's the background story ;)
Years ago, I saw a fitness competition on ESPN. I saw women who were in crazy good shape, some posing in "swimsuits" (figure category) and others doing gymnastics-type routines. I knew little about the competition industry, but I knew that that level of fitness was AMAZING and something I aspired to.
In college, I subscribed to Oxygen magazine and the likes because I LOVED the way women were strong and lean and looked like athletes but were beautiful. Fitness models. I idolized them more than any skinny rich celebrity.

Fast forward several years. I got my degree in Exercise Science, became a certified trainer, and got married and had a kid. I got serious about losing the baby weight and wanted to take it to the next level and compete. I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I didn't know a single person who did that sort of thing, and I didn't know who would help me get to that stage. I hired a normal trainer, and we both worked to the best of our abilities and I did my first figure competition. 

I cringe a little bit at those stage photos.
Since then, I have learned  A TON. My body looked the best it ever had for that show, but there was a lot lacking. I didn't place well (4th place out of 4 girls in my class) because I had guessed my way through that prep. And my posing was horrible! I never felt content leaving it at that. I really wanted to train the right way, educate myself, and prove to myself that I could do better.

Enter baby #2 ;)
This was a few weeks postpartum. I cried.

Losing the baby weight seemed to take sooo long the second time around, but I got in pretty good shape on my own (I'm a trainer, after all). Competing has gotten really popular in Utah (all over, actually) and I ended up meeting lots of people who do this crazy sport. I was super inspired and knew that one day, I needed to hire the right person and do this.

My follow-up post will include this process, but when Mason (baby #2) was about 18 months, I competed again, in bikini instead of figure...
HUUUUGE improvements, and I walked away with three 1st place trophies. Redemption right there. Never felt so good!!!

To be continued.... =)