Saturday, September 27, 2014

the down side of competing

There’s a lot of reasons people don’t compete who want to, so I’m going to tell you all the reasons why it sucks lol..

It’s expensive. 
Here’s just a layout of what a typical show costs, based on my experience:

Coach: $500-1200 depending on who and how much time you need and if they train you in person
Suit: anywhere from $75 renting to $1000+ buying one! Yeah that tiny sparkly piece of fabric costs that much
Posing lessons: $25-100 not required, but you better be practicing with someone who knows their stuff! You don't wanna be the girl with the awesome physique but horrible presentation who loses the show.
NPC (or whatever federation) registration: $120
Actual local show registration: $75-150
Spray tan for show: $75+
Make-up and hair for show: $100-300 depending on who does it, and how many days.. Sometimes you have pre-judge on Friday, then Finals on Saturday. 2 days worth of stage make-up
Heels: $50 ish
Potential photo shoots or buying photos from the show: $80-400
Nails before show: $50 this is optional, I've decided that Forever 21 $2 nail polish is what's happening for me.
Jewelry: $40-75 ish. Even that Claire's fake crap is expensive!
If you travel for a show (like me for Nationals), you’re paying for a hotel, a flight, car, etc! This is no joke!

Then you have your gym membership, your food (protein gets expensive, and you eat a lot of it!), plus supplements.

Is this terrifying to anyone yet?? Most of us do not have this kind of money just laying around for "extracurricular" hobbies like competing.

And this is why competitors kindly ask for sponsors to help them through all this. (Subtle enough? Anyone? Please?? ;)

Sooooo... besides being a financial bomb, here’s what you sacrifice:
Time- it depends on the person, but some have to spend A LOT of time working out.
It takes time and effort and planning to prep your food.
You don’t get to eat out.. unless an occasional cheat meal.
Because of that, you feel a little socially awkward and get tired of carrying Tupperware into restaurants to eat while everyone else has pizza.
You’re not fun to take on a date, because you “can’t eat anything.”
You’re often tired, carb-depleted, and end up emotional and grouchy. Especially close to show date.
You run the risk of obsessing over food, your body, and experiencing post-show weight gain, and depression.
(By the way, if you have tendencies towards disordered eating, distorted body image, etc, just be aware this sport probably isn't for you).

So why the freak are we doing this?! 

This whole list of suckiness probably just turned a lot of people off, but it’s reality! Those stage photos represent your best physique, and most likely the best shape of your life, but most people on the outside don’t know what got you there and what it took to reach that moment. And trophy or not, you’ve accomplished something huge. Most likely your family has made sacrifices too, for you to reach your goals. 

And people ask me all the time, so how much money do you get when you win??
Uhhhhhh... a $30 trophy? Even at the pro level when you do get a check for placing, it's not much. You don't really have a career from merely competing.

We compete for the love of the sport, and the challenge of pushing ourselves further each time. Lots of of us have to scrimp and save and beg to be able to fund it all. 
But it is FUN! I love that I've met so many people who share the same passion. Prep is so much better when you are surrounded by people who can relate and are supportive and are on the same crazy journey with you.

Posing practice from this morning. Thanks Heather Dees and those who took these pictures lol. Always a good time =)

Thank you to those sponsors I do have who are encouraging and supportive in my journal towards Nationals!! 8 weeks ya'll!

For local competitors, I thought I'd share some of my people who help me look and do my best, and who I'll be calling on in the future!
I rented my suit, which was made by Bonnie. She's amazing!
Competition tan by Shawn and Karim. It was perfect.
Lovely make-up for all my shoots and shows by my bestie Megan.
I do my own hair for shows, but my colorist is so awesome! She's here in Lehi, and I can give her number to anyone interested =)
And of course, my awesome coach Robyn
I do posing with Robyn, but also with IFBB pro Heather Dees.
And the show's photographer,  Lyman who specializes in fitness shoots. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

supplement basics

I've been asked quite a bit about supplements. This is something I am not the expert on, because in the past, I haven't taken a lot. They're meant to "supplement" your diet, so first and foremost you need to be eating right, then fill in where you're lacking.

I'm addressing women who may have similar goals to mine, in that they want to lose weight, and build muscle but be lean, and "toned." All of the above right? =)

Weight training should be a part of everyone's routine, and to encourage growth, you gotta up the protein! The best sources are from real whole foods: chicken, tuna, eggs, etc, but a quick protein shake is always really beneficial especially before or after a workout.

I've tried LOTS of protein powders, and I don't think they're all created equal. Whey seems to be the most popular, and that's what I stick to (although I've heard casein is best when trying to bake with protein powder).

I get most of my supplements from Mixers Nutrition! They're located in Glendale, AZ and expanding to Utah soon (yay!) If you're in Arizona, mention my name and they'll hook you up with a smoothie! ;)
Also, if you are local and want to try anything out, I can arrange a discount too!

My favorite protein powders are:

Cellucor peanut butter marshmallow (I know right?!)
Dymatize ISO 100 (I feel like it's a purer protein without added carbs or fat, and less calories)
They just came out with 2 new flavors: Birthday cake and fudge brownie. Total yum!!

I love protein bars but I'm very particular. Really, the only ones I'll eat anymore are Quest. Clean and nutritionally balanced, they're the only way to go PLUS they taste awesome! We went to the Olympia last weekend and walked through the expo where there were TONS of protein bars and other supplements to try.
Nothing's as good as Quest! Besides, now they have protein chips now. Amazing.

I recommend a good multivitamin for everyone. Sometimes I eat gummies because they taste like candy.. not because I think they actually help ;) Truth. Get something legit!

I do take a pre-workout but not every single day, every single workout. I don't want to depend on caffeine. I'm still trying to nail down my favorite.

Fat burners:
So if you've ever struggled with your weight, maybe you've taken one or contemplated it.
I remember I did in college, felt crazy on them, and then never really saw weight loss.
Here's the thing: Hydroxycut or Xenadrine or whatever magic fat loss pill says on the label that it works in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. I always exercised but never was as consistent with my diet. Thus, no results. Lots of competitors take them to aid in stripping the last bit of fat off, but it's really important that you follow the instructions, and you cycle off. 
For me personally, I like RoxyLean (and that shiz is strong), but again I don't want to have to "need it" if that makes sense. I'd rather have my body burn its own fat, and use a fat burner as a last resort. Don't think it's a miracle pill, because there is no such thing.

There are other methods of aiding fat loss, like L-carnitine, CLA, chromium, green tea, etc. that are worth looking into. 

This was new to me when I started training for shows. Branch chain amino acids help support lean muscle and aid in recovery and growth. Great for before, during and after a workout.

There are numerous other supplements for specific goals that you can research, and figure out what works for you. Every body is different and reacts in its own way, so it may be some experimentation.

Bottom line though: Nothing gets you in shape like good old fashioned healthy eating and exercise!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

competing from an LDS perspective

I don't mean to be controversial, and I owe no explanation to anyone, but these are my thoughts..

I'm an active member of the LDS church, always have been and like it that way =)
In our religion, we believe in chastity and modesty, so I can understand if people believe I'm contradictory in my standards. Whatever you believe, competing is not right for everyone!

I found this on Instagram and recently reposted it to my Facebook:
And that is why I do what I do.

There are girls who think it's a fun idea to go compete for the sake of looking hot, getting attention, or whatever. I think for most of us though, this is bodybuilding. I wear a skimpy suit on stage for a day, but the rest of the time, I bust my A in the gym, looking gross but finding pride in pushing myself further, for the sake of fitness.
Please DO NOT mistake me for taking a part of a different industry- one that I despise. And there's a great article about that here
I believe that we are given rules and commandments to follow, but we have the freedom to make decisions for ourselves based on our lives and what we feel is appropriate for us. There may be people frowning upon my lifestyle, but it is my opinion that people who don't exercise, but who eat donuts and drink coke all day are breaking the Word of Wisdom, a code of health that keeps us free of addiction and encourages us to take care of our bodies. But that's your business ;)
I just do what's right for me. But my husband's opinion is also extremely important to me.

Aaron was not thrilled about me wanting to compete again. I understood and respected his reasons, and held off for a while. Of course he doesn't love that his wife is wearing almost nothing on a stage for everyone to see. Competing can make you very self-absorbed and obsessive about your body, not to mention it can suck your money and time away!
I felt guilty pursuing this, but in time he started to realize why this was important to me. I had something to prove to myself and I was determined to be successful. He's become sooo supportive and I would not continue without him backing me. It meant the world to me that he flew in from Dallas to surprise me and be there at my show. 

But we decided, if at any time my focus drifts away from what is truly important, I won't hesitate to hang up my competition heels. Having a great physique is not worth putting my family or faith aside. 
With anything else in life, it's about balance and doing what's right for you. Besides, no matter what you do, there will always be haters! Lucky for me though, I've had such great comments and feedback and encouragement. So thank you!

Training and diet has commenced for Nationals in November! Wish me luck and lots of willpower ;)

Monday, September 8, 2014


Despite the seemingly flawless photos of competitors or fitness models, or people on social media posting their best, most flattering selfie (guilty), just be aware that many if not all of them have insecurities and flaws.
I've spent lots of time while in contest prep browsing photos of pro competitors, to get an idea of how you're "supposed to look" and how to pose, and I'll be honest, it can be depressing! 
Most of them look freaking perfect.
Like, how do judges even score them when everyone looks amazing?!

But I've been backstage, where people actually walk around, and aren't in a perfect flattering pose, and I see cellulite, and saggy butts, and stretch marks!
It's a huge relief! We've all got something wrong with us!!

I had the most amazing photos done, which highlighted my muscles and my stretch marks, and crazy herniated belly button. I struggle with it, but it is what it is!

Which brings me to my next point:
Posing is a big deal.

My coach told me it's not always the girl with the best physique that wins shows, but it's the one who presents herself best. Creates the illusion of having the best physique.
I can tell you right now that I probably didn't have the best body! I had insecurities- I felt my legs were big, my glute-hamstring tie-in (where your butt and hamstrings connect) wasn't where I wanted it to be. My abs were ripped, but I had to make an effort to keep em tight.
Looking at comparison photos, there are girls who look better than me in different ways!!

But I used what I know was good, and presented it the best I could. 
I have pretty developed lats, and I have a booty. If I twist just right in that front pose, my waist looks tiny. (And it's really not that small!!) I created a nice silhouette from what I had.

My stage presentation was 30 seconds. I opted not to do anything flirty or sexy because that's not my personality (I mean business people!!)
There are girls who do crazy shiz on that stage! Like bending over weird, or sticking out their chest, or doing strange things with their hands.
It's awkward.
I don't blow kisses or shake my hips around, I just keep it simple, and I appear confident, and hit poses I know flatter me best, and I don't like to do stuff that I feel weird doing.
Are you with me?

So my point is, people are showing their best angles in competitions, posing just right to highlight their strengths and hide the flaws. It's actually quite hard! Which is why we practice posing A LOT.
Stage pictures look awesome but be aware that they are meant to. Everyone's in killer shape but we've all got flaws ;)

Speaking of flaws, people ask me a lot about cellulite, and if you can get rid of it:

Rule #1

Rule #2
But by all means, you wear what you want! ;)

I'm not an expert on this subject, but this is what I understand:
Cellulite is just fat under the skin, and it's bumpy and puckers because it's pushing against connective tissue. 

Is there a cure? Yes and no...

I believe it's genetic. You may never get rid of it, but you can greatly reduce it!

It's not by creams and lipo (unless you had some crazy success story, by all means, share!), but it's by cleaning up your diet, and LIFTING WEIGHTS.
I'd say most women have it on the back of their legs and butt, so get some heavy weights and squat! Doing lunges, leg press, anything to activate and put pressure on those muscles.
You'll create better shape and reduce your body fat. When you're leaner, you're likely to have less cellulite. Capiche?

I've had cellulite both pregnancies. I hate it, but I manage to get rid of it...
On stage, you don't see the stretch marks on my hips or inside of my thighs, all from big weight swings. But they're there! Smoke and mirrors, friends.

Friday, September 5, 2014

this one's for the mamas

This post is really personal (and embarrassing!!) but it's real. Lots of people have been here.
I've told countless friends and clients to chuck the scale, and base progress on pictures because that's been eye-opening for me.

And here's a **disclaimer**
This was not a crazy fast transformation. This was a year and a half in the making, of hard work and persistence. It's also not photoshopped ;)

Everyone has a story...

I had Mason (baby #2) January 2013. I gained 40 pounds (I'm 5'2").
I carried different this time, in that I stuck. straight. out. 
Mason was just under 8 pounds, but when you're short, there's just nowhere for that baby to go!
I'm one of the lucky ones that doesn't get morning sickness, but I get famished immediately, and gain 10 pounds immediately. The rest eases its way on. Lovely.
And I had another c-section, planned this time.
And I loved that beautiful baby the second he came out =)

Now shi gets real..
I took pictures every month after til I lost the baby weight, and those first couple months were ROUGH. I jumped back into exercise as soon as I was able. My husband was gone a lot, we didn't have our gym or equipment yet and I couldn't take a newborn to Golds.

I had a crappy old mirror down in our unfinished basement, and I had 2 sets of free weights. 
For a solid 2 months, I did everything I could do with those weights, watching my form in that old mirror, and cringing at the body I had. I didn't see noticeable progress, and it was so frustrating but I kept at it.
I jogged around that basement, I did jumping jacks, lunges, shoulder presses, you name it. It was depressing starting out, but I had to build my muscle back up, and I was determined. 

There is a month difference in these 2 pictures. I almost look fatter in the 2nd! 

The following months:

My bedroom was also getting a makeover in the meantime haha.
Change did happen. I obviously did lose weight over time, but the more I stepped on that scale, the more frustrated I'd become because it didn't change as much as I wanted it to. But the proof is in the pictures!

So I need to address my biggest issue. Two pregnancies has destroyed my abs. I have LOTS of stretch marks around my belly button, 2 hernias, and diastasis recti (separated abs) plus c-section scars.

I ruled out competing forever, seriously. Unless I would get a full tummy tuck to fix all that after I'm done having kids. Because there's nothing else you can really do.
I actually had a consult with a plastic surgeon. To get my boobs back up where they used to be, and fix my abs, it was going to be 3 surgeries, and $14,000. That's what my body needed to be repaired.
My body needs $14,000 of improvements! Talk about overwhelming depression...

I let that horrible fact sink in, then had to just ignore it and refocus on my fitness, just for me...
I realized that there is no sense in whining and worrying about things that you can't change.

So...I've always had abs. It's kind of genetic, or maybe leftover from gymnastics days. I'm proud of them, but they're weird, and you can kinda see the weirdness in this picture.
(It's worse in person, I promise!)
And FYI I don't do a ton of ab exercises. I target lower abs more, but there's really no secret move. Just work em in to your weekly routine, and keep good form, engaging core when lifting other muscle groups =)

So.... I got the itch once again to compete despite the way my midsection looked. Even though I might be up against 20-year old girls who don't even know what stretch marks and cellulite are. There's nothing I could do at that point anyways, so what the heck.

Well, as it turns out, when you get really lean, your waist gets smaller, and looks a lot better ;) 
Because on a regular basis, when I'm not super lean, and relaxed, I could still pass for 5 months pregnant.
I'm not joking.

Then you get a spray tan, decide you don't care that you have stretch marks or weird abs (because lots of ladies that compete are moms and have stretch marks too!)
And you pull out all the confidence you can muster.

And then you win.

Carrying a baby (or several!) in your body is an amazing thing. And just because there's a little scarring left, you are not doomed. 
You are not stuck with that baby weight forever, rather you are entitled to take care of yourself. 
You have to work for it, and you have to want it. 
No excuses.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

competition diet

I dunno if this is news to anyone, but you can't out-train a bad diet. The nutrition aspect is usually really hard for me. I know how to shop clean, cook clean, and eat clean, but in normal settings, I give myself wiggle room for treats, and parties, and eating out. During this prep, I had no cheat meals (til one week out). That's the hardest part for me is in social settings where I don't like to make a scene with my stupid tupperware or go to a restaurant, toting my own food.
In competition prep, I do things that I don't like doing. But I stayed pretty focused, and it got easier.

First thing- I don't like eating gross food.

Plain chicken or tilapia without any seasoning with tasteless vegetables just is not my thing.
Robyn gave me an exact nutrition plan, and I loved just about everything that was on it. It's amazing how good your body feels when it's totally rid of sugar and sodium and all sorts of crap (although I don't eat a ton of that anyway).
Again I won't give out specifics, but I ate regularly, and I wasn't starving. I realized something from that too. I used to have the impression that if you're cutting calories to lose fat, you shouldn't be so low that you're hungry. True, you shouldn't be famished, but expect to be a little uncomfortable. Your body doesn't like it because you're in a deficit. It's really hard at times, but for the most part, I felt fine.
I never went below 1500 calories. Just sayin. Never went super low or no carbs, never cut out fats. I don't believe in diets that encourage cutting out entire essential food groups long-term.

My diet consisted of tons of protein the whole way through. I had complex carbs/fruit and healthy fats, plenty of vegetables, and drank tons of water. It felt like a very normal and balanced way of eating, and I felt really good all the way up to show day, without doing anything crazy. 

On comp prep, you just learn to get creative with your seasonings. Stevia, all sorts of mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, sriracha, cinnamon, Mrs. Dash, and herbs. I came up with the best dressings and sauces ;) But like I said, I wanna enjoy my food! Prep is not supposed to be miserable...

Although, at times, like when I take my kids to Krispy Kreme, and have to just sip on water, it kinda sucks haha

Baby steps ;)

No, but really, it gets easier. Early on in my prep, I was on family vacation, had a day where I totally lost it, and and ate a whole bunch of crap. I was pissed about it later, but the next day, I got back on track and had to just refocus, chug lots of water and forget about previous days' mistakes. You can't fall off the wagon and then just stay there, beating yourself up about it.
Did I on occasion lick my kids' brownie batter? Yep I did. Sneak a bite of homemade pretzels I made. Yes, because I am human.
But I became better at keeping it at that, and getting back to the plan.
Consistency is key people!

Even during peak week where people are doing all sorts of crazy stuff, I really didn't...
We kind of just eased into show day, so it felt great!

I think this was 1 day out, posing practice in the garage =) Not hungry, just nervous!
And know that you're only that tight and that lean for a day. I look nothing like this picture today. It's sad but reality =(

Horrible lighting but we hit up Cheesecake Factory after the show. Their pizza is not that good. But I ate it, cuz I could ;) And maybe some carrot cake cheesecake as well. I felt sick for the next 2 days..