I’m baaaaaaack!

So I got picked on for the last time today for not updating my blog.  No I didn’t quit, get hurt, or picked up for drug dealing… I got insanely busy designing an entire precast concrete building from the foundation up.  Not only did I have to learn how to design in a material I had never worked with before but I also had to design it for a seismic event which adds an entire other layer of complexity in buildings as structures tend to not like moving a lot.  So for those of you that have skimmed over the last few sentences thinking they were in a different language… in layman’s terms… I had design a bunch of large concrete Legos that when stacked together would be able to handle an earthquake shaking the crap out of it.  Imagine a Jenga stack standing there and someone coming up and shaking the table underneath it.  Yeah… exactly.  So even though I didn’t miss a beat with the training and exercise all of my free time was suddenly gone and my creative energy was ZILCH!

But enough with the excuses I am back and things have really started to accelerate in terms of the training and show prep and I’m sure you are all dying to hear where things stand.  I apologize in advance for the plethora of information I am about to dump on you and the lack of witty quips but I want to make sure everyone is up to speed with where I am now so the following more witty updates make sense.

Here we go… back in September my coach leaned me down to near stage weight to see what my physique looked like to determine what we needed to work on (picture shows progress from when I started this in July to this point in September).  Let’s just say it was NOT hard to pinpoint.  God must’ve been doing the Atkins diet when forming me because I have NO buns in the oven!  And when I say “no” I mean “NO”… like Oklahoma plains flat!  It would’ve been insanely depressing had it not been for how comical it was.  Waist up I looked pretty good, waist down had no definition, no curve, and no chance of placing.  So we decided to take the next 5-6 months and go through a build phase focusing on the lower body.

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I spent the better parts of September – February walking around like I had just gotten off a horse I completed the Oregon Trail on.  My quads, hamstrings, and glutes were in a constant state of sore and tight.  I was hitting different parts of my legs/glutes 3 times per week!  Was BRUTAL!  The nice part was I got to be in a calorie surplus through the holiday’s which made that time waaaaay more palatable (pun intended).  Good news is… it worked!  Mamma got some junk back in her trunk!

In January we started to look at potential shows for the June/July timeframe in one of the areas I live in.  We decided to do a show in each!  That way I can tweak some things in the second show if I want to from my experience in the first show.  The two shows I’ll be competing in are:

Muscle Classic in Garden City, ID on June 2nd
(https://craigproductions.com/idaho-classic)

Greater Gulf States in Metarie, LA on June 23rd
(http://louisianamuscle.com/greater_gulf_states).

Side note – Definitely come out and support me if you are around one of those venues on those dates.  Crowd participation and support of an athlete can actually help your score!

With the shows selected and hard dates set we started my prep early – 20 weeks out – to allow for some flexibility and time to adapt as this will be the first time getting to true stage lean.  I am now 10 weeks into it and things are going well.  For those that are curious I am still around 2000 calories a day and am averaging about 1lb of weight loss per week.  However I am now up to cardio 5 times per week rather than just 2 HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions and my training workouts are averaging between 1.5 – 2 hrs.  So I am in the gym 2 – 3 hrs every day after work.  It really is like having a second full time job at this point.

Anyway… now everyone is caught up to where I am at in the process.  I’m not going to turn this into a novel by posting all of the random, funny, and awkward moments that have happened in the interim but they will follow shortly over the next few weeks and I promise some should have you rolling assuming I can get into words even a fraction of what actually happened.  Topics will include getting a piece of fabric in the mail with an invoice for a posing bikini, the selection process of the stage bikini, my first posing sessions, and me going through the realization that I walk whatever the opposite of sexy is.  This is definitely not a sport for the faint hearted or thin skinned I can tell you that!  Stay tuned!

PS – The last piece of the building I designed was erected a week ago… and it’s still standing!  (check out my FB to see pics).

Competition Athlete or Drug Dealer?

One accessory that I never seem to leave the house without anymore is the oh so faint (although sometimes not that faint) powder residue on my pants, shirts, shoes, and sometimes even hair.  No it’s not cocaine or dry shampoo or even that special fragrant deodorant that I splurged on at the drug store a few weeks ago once I stepped up my HIIT… but protein powder, BCAAs, preworkout, creatine, or any combination of these.

Little did I know how much starting this process would quickly turn me into what looks like a drug dealer.  Not that I think drug dealers walk around sporting their product all over their attire but you will rarely see me anymore without a small bag or mismatched purse in tow.  Because let’s face it, I no longer get to select the bag by outfit or ensemble color scheme but rather by the amount of food and/or product I need to carry with me that day.  They are always packed with several different powders in small Ziploc baggies, little bottles of different types of liquid with small needless syringes, and a travelling scale.  Here TSA is worried about my juicy peppers and chicken and completely overlooked the drug stash I have taking up over a quarter of my suitcase.  Newbs!!

Although I am proud to say that I have now upgraded to a high class drug dealer because after pulling out small baggie after small baggie full of different powders I did start to feel a bit self-conscious especially after I was stopped by a sketchy random guy in the airport who asked what kind of goodies I had.  I splurged on the Blender Bottle GoStak containers (https://www.blenderbottle.com/products/gostak) and of course got them in hot pink.  I mean with as jacked as I am trying to get I don’t want people to mistake me for a boy, right?!  I highly recommend these to any athlete that is trying to avoid the “corner dealer” look.

However, beware!  You’re still not in the clear… the problem with these GoStaks is that if you are not using the shaker that comes with it, the opening tends to be much larger than most other shaker bottles.  So if you’re anything like me and have a tendency to make messes, you will still walk around sporting some residue.  Although take comfort in knowing that you’ve at least taken it down a notch from dealer to just a user! #fitgirlproblems

It takes a village…

So many people have asked why I haven’t posted anything in a while.  I can assure you it is NOT from lack of stories, gains, struggles, or required stuffing of the face.  Unfortunately I had a pretty major setback that started about a month ago which finally culminated in the past few weeks and forced me to deal with it.  Along with my attention it also temporarily held my creative writing juices captive.

About a month ago I woke up one morning with an insane headache and a sharp pain in my neck.  I assumed it was from me falling asleep with a bun on the back of my head (#fitgirlproblems) so I just waited for it to “work itself out”.  Well four chiropractor appointments and five intense 1.5-2 hour massages later it was ten times worse than it was and had now radiated down my arm.  My left shoulder felt like there was a knife in it, my bicep felt like it was on fire from the inside out, my forearm was constantly throbbing in pain, and my thumb and index finger were completely numb.  The pain became so intolerable that I literally had to run out of work one day in tears because I could not physically or mentally deal with the pain any more.

Luckily that same day an orthopedic doctor friend of mine was able to get me in for a MRI which revealed a bulging disk between my C5 and C6 vertebrae in my neck.  The bulge was enough that it was putting pressure on my nerve causing all of the pain (see picture).  He instantly recommended I go see a very well respected spine surgeon in Houston and actually got me an appointment the very next morning in Houston (2.5 hours away).

During this appointment we decided to try a steroid injection directly into the disk to see if we could get it to shrink rather than opting straight for surgery.  HE made some phone calls and got me in the next business day.

Needless to say I was an emotional wreck.  I had already come so far in just a month and was able to keep up the diet and workout regimen to a “T” despite the pain I had been experiencing.  What if this injection doesn’t work?  Can I live another day with this pain?  What if I have to have surgery?  What if I’m out for 6 months to recover and lose all of my gains?  What if I lose mobility?  Hell, what if they nick my spinal cord and I am paralyzed from the neck down?  So many questions and so few answers at this point.  As scared as I was, it seemed Monday could not come fast enough.

Arrived at the hospital more nervous than ever but desperate for some relief.  After 3 tries to insert the IV in my hand (fml) I was ready for the injection.  When I woke up from the sedation I didn’t feel any pain but was warned that was from the narcotics they had given me and not to be surprised if the next day it hurts worse than it did.  I was told the steroids could take up to 2 weeks to work and to be patient.

Not gonna lie, that was the first time in over a month I felt no pain and I seriously could’ve gone streaking through the halls of the hospital in pure joy and celebration!  For those of you that have never experienced chronic pain, you honestly forget what it’s like to NOT feel pain and start to develop a tolerance to where you don’t actually realize how much pain you’re in… until you’re not.  I slept like a princess in a Disney movie all the way home and most of that day.  It was glorious… until the next morning.

I woke up like I had been in a cryogenic freeze for over a hundred years only to be instantly greeted with a pain that made my previous month seem like child’s play.  It was paralyzing.  No position offered me relief and no over the counter pain medicine even touched it.  I was absolutely miserable and quite literally ready to cut my arm off (like knife in numb hand ready).  Still today I honestly don’t know if it was actually that much worse than what I had previously experienced or if it was simply the fact that I had tasted a pain free existence and lost the tolerance I had built up… either way it was absolutely kicking my ass mentally and physically.  However, for the record, I still followed my diet that day and actually worked up the fortitude to go to the gym and complete my workout (don’t worry… it was cleared by the doctor) but I was feeling more defeated than ever.

The next day came like molasses but to my surprise did offer some relief.  The pain was in no way gone but either my tolerance had built back up or it was subsiding.  Didn’t really care which, this was a win for me and my spirits began to lift and reluctantly even my hope.  Over the following week, each day offered less and less pain and I was able to return to the things that I was able to do previously with little thought… like sit.

Today, a little over a week later, I am sitting on a plane with only a small amount of pain and numbness in my fingers writing this blog.  I may not be out of the woods quite yet but I am back in control with little limitation.  I pray that over the next 5-6 days the pain and numbness goes away and I can stay the course.

All of this to say, this whole ordeal has really made me appreciate the people in my life that have rallied behind me in support of what I am trying to accomplish.  Some expected and some not.  It’s been an absolute blessing to see so many people go out of their way to help me and support me in a goal that I have set for myself.  A goal that has nothing to do with them and offers them absolutely no benefit.  I have also been unbelievably amazed as to how many people I have seemed to inspire simply by never giving up on my own goal.  Seeing how contagious the motivation is just continues to feed the machine, motivate ME, and continue the cycle.  They say it takes a village and for this I want to take a minute to shout out to all of my village people and let them know how much I appreciate them for their role in this circus ride.

Andrew Morlock – the Hubs – for always supporting me in my crazy endeavors and not even flinching when I let you know about the investment in time and money we were going to have to make… and for limiting the shit you give me about my “macros”.

Gretchen Quast – trainer/Houdini – for obvious reasons that will be made more and more apparent when I start posting progress stats and pics.  Thanks for pushing me and investing in me as I have in you.

Josh Louviere – chef/motivator – two words: fish tacos!  I met you literally the week I took the leap to pursue this goal and your unending support and motivation has had me absolutely floored.  Not to mention the countless nights that you have come over to cook in order to shorten my evenings and break me free from the chicken and peppers monotony.  Also for understanding that every teaspoon of every ingredient counts and not giving me shit about “being that girl”.

Bonnie Self – LC Bestie/lifting partner – for challenging me every day and making my workouts much more enjoyable by bringing the entertainment.  Also for constantly encouraging me and celebrating in my successes in a real way.  Not just lip service.  And of course we can’t forget about the fact that you give me a booty to aspire to everyday!

Jonathan Armstead – masseuse/pain inflictor – for meeting me late in the evenings to allow me to complete my workouts and working on me until it is “fixed” rather than until the “time is up”.  Also for taking the time to research my condition and learn new techniques to try and help.  Your concern and constant texts to check in are so much appreciated.  (Quick plug… if anyone is in the Lake Charles area and have any kind of ailment or pain… or just want a good massage… definitely give him a call… 337-912-4199).

Dr. Scott DeRouen – chiropractor – for working his magic and keeping the pain tolerable even during the worst of it.  You go out of your way to make sure I walk out of the clinic with as little pain as possible and have managed to keep your scolding of deadlifts and squats to a minimum.  (Another quick plug… if you are in Lake Charles and haven’t seen a chiropractor or need a good one… give him a call 337-502-5303).

Dr. Dan Butler – orthopedic/friend – for pulling favors and going out of your way to help me find answers and relief.  Also for letting me and my girlfriends crash your place, drink your amazing champagne and tequila, and take your jetskis out… not necessarily in that order.

Dr. Jeffrey Kozak – orthopedic surgeon – for recognizing the dedication I have within me and appreciating what I am trying to achieve and for pulling favors to help me find relief ASAP so that I can continue the path I am on with little to no disruption.

I truly appreciate each and every one of the people in my camp that have helped me get through this.  And for the rest of you… don’t you worry… the anecdotes are on their way back!

Fit for Travel

As if flying wasn’t pain in the a$$ enough… trying to fly while on a strict meal plan is next to impossible.  Have to stick to solid foods, you have no access to fridges or microwaves, and you have extra “luggage” now carrying around an array of mismatched tupperware.  Needless to say by the time I arrived at security I thought I had made it past the tough part… boy was I wrong!

Just a short brief on the Boise airport, it has a total of 21 gates and typically you can arrive 45 mins early, check a bag, get through security, grab a coffee, and STILL wait at your gate for about 15 minutes before boarding.  So when I showed up almost an hour early with only carry-ons, I was psyched that I would actually be able to treat myself to a coffee from one of my favorite local places (which I had worked into my macros for the day) .  Lol… joke was on me.

Well first of all this must have been training day for the TSA agents because they were processing approximately one persons’s bag per hour (ok – may be a slight exaggeration but go with me on this).  So by the time I actually get into the teleportation device that they like to call the “millimeter wave machine” I only had about 20 minutes until my flight started to board.

First of all as I stepped out of the human fryer, I saw my a$$ light up yellow on the weird corpse outline they have on their screen.  Ok, I wore my blinged out jeans… that was MY bad.  I’ll take full credit for that oversight.  Let the strip search begin!

However my little rendezvous was not over yet because when I went to get my things out of the 50 bins it took to lay everything out that they want to see, they pulled the bin with all of my food in it.  Ok… wtf now?!

“Ma’am… we need to do additional screening on this bin.  Can you please collect the rest of your things and meet me on the other side?”  Sigh… but my coffee!!!  Hmph!

As I sat there watching her inspect each container carefully I started to get a little nervous.  Since when can you not bring food on a plane?!  Then she said “Ma’am were you aware that you cannot bring liquid on a flight unless it is 3oz or less and can fit into a 1 quart Ziploc bag?”  I replied “Yes ma’am, but what does that have to do with my food?”  Her reply… and I cannot make this up… “Well your food is awfully juicy and I think that you have exceeded your allowed liquid amount AND it’s not in the proper container.”

Ummm… was that just a massive compliment??!!  “Your food looks too juicy for travel”?!  So much so that we think you are a threat to the plane’s security?!  I didn’t know what else to do but start laughing which unfortunately was probably not the right move as she became very defensive and adamant that I could not carry my food through.  Let’s just say laughing quickly turned into frustration.

I started to try and explain to her that I NEEDED this food for health reasons and that I hadn’t had an issue before but she was not having it.  I asked her to call her supervisor because I refused to blow an entire day and waste a ton of food based on one rookie’s decision.  Luckily the supervisor had a bit more sense and at least let me “drain” the liquid before he required it be re-run through the x-ray machine.  Once my chicken and peppers were finally not a threat to national security, I only had 3 minutes until the boarding door closed.  In fact they were already paging me as I was collecting up my food and of course it was at Gate 21… the last one in the terminal.  Let my cardio workout commence…

I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know I made my plane, chicken and peppers in tow… BUT I did have to re-program my macros for the day since I was not able to obtain my coffee.  #fitgirlproblems

 

Meet my Liquid Chef

So I traveled back to Boise, ID today from Lake Charles, LA (don’t worry… an explanation of my current work/live situation is coming soon) and as tradition has it my best friend, Katie, always picks me up from the airport where we then go to Cheesecake Factory for appetizers and cocktails.

This is the first time I have come home since starting this process so wasn’t sure how well it would go down.  I mean… no one likes to drink and eat alone… poor Katie. So as we took our usual spots at the bar one of our favorite bartenders – Robert – greets us with the obvious, almost obligatory question: “the usual?”.  I looked at him and said “no, not for me.  I’m not drinking.”  The look I got from him instantly made me feel like I may need to look into joining an AA group immediately!  Then without hesitation he said “oh, you’re pregnant!”.  LMAO!  Come on man!  Are those my only options?!  Drinking or pregnant?!  (actually to be fair he’s not that far off and it was a pretty safe assumption)

I explained to him what I was doing and he instantly was on board and extremely supportive.  To the point that he let me bring in my last meal for the day to eat at the bar along with greeting me with a line of cocktails (pictured above) made purely from water, diet sodas, and food coloring.  To him he was probably just being funny, but what he didn’t realize is how much that meant to someone that has completely flipped her social life upside down.  Even though I KNEW it was just water, it felt like – for a brief second – that I was able to enjoy something I literally would look forward to all month – cocktails with my Bestie at the Cheesecake Factory.  Now, before we all start running to Robert to pin “Bartender of the Year” award on him… there was one small mishap that cost him his crown.

For any of you that have meal prepped you know it’s not always that simple of a task.  Especially when you are travelling on a plane where you can’t have more than 3oz of liquid AND you don’t have access to simple things like refrigerators and microwaves.  So it leaves you eating room temperature, solid food all day.  But like a Boss, I sat and ate my cold chicken and peppers in first class while everyone else around me enjoyed their free hot meal. #gonnabehotsomeday

So once I got to the Cheesecake Factory I had my one meal left to eat and I would have nailed my macros for the day.  #awesomesauce  However, during his little mocktail science experiment, said bartender forgot to use Coke Zero in one of his concoctions and rather poured the fully leaded Coca Cola.  Because I really don’t drink either very often I didn’t know the difference.  Just as I was slurping the last bit of it down he realized what he had done and practically jumped across the bar to pull it from my hands… but it was too late.  It was down the hatch.  So I had him measure it out to see how much I had actually drank.  It couldn’t be THAT bad right?!

Holy hell!  Do you know how much sugar is in regular soda?!?!  I mean… DANG!  Just 6oz ended up putting me 15g over my carb count for the day.  That’s 10.5% over!  UGH!  FML!  I blew my first day to drink something I didn’t even want!  Sigh… oh well.  All I can do is wake up tomorrow and start again.  Still love you though Robert.  E for Effort!!

“Don’t try to spice it up Dirt!”

So for as long as I have been consuming protein powder, I am absolutely shocked that I did not know this.  I swear I am no supplement neophyte but I was absolutely schooled today on the effects a highly effective blender has on said protein powder.

So when I got home from the gym today I still had my post workout meal to eat, dinner, a serving of grapes, and 2.5 protein shakes to drink.  Now mind you… I don’t typically get home from the gym until about 8:00pm.  So this is a sh^%ton of food to consume in about 3-4 hrs.

In order to try and help get it all down I thought it would help, even dare I say make it enjoyable, to try and turn the 2.5 protein shakes into more of an ice cream smoothie.  I was currently on a container of ISO100 Cinnamon Bun which really did taste like a cinnamon roll (but please bear in mind you are talking to woman who hasn’t actually had a cinnamon roll in years, so my palate may be a tad off).  So rather than just drinking the 16 ounces or so of water/protein mix, I would simply put half of the water in the blender and add ice.  Brilliant!  I’m gonna be the Paula Dean of protein concoctions!  So in the blender it went.

As my Ninja was going to town I walked away to relieve some pressure the 1-2 gallons of water that day was putting on my body and when I got back to the kitchen there was nothing I could do but laugh.  I shut off the blender only to find what would have been 16 oz of liquid now clocking in just over 64 oz.  WTF?!  What happened?!  How did the whole end up greater than the sum of its parts?!

Apparently when you add ice to protein powder and blend it, it will expand to 4 or 5 times it’s original volume.  I did some research to figure out exactly why that is and everyone seems to say “because of the air in ice”.  Not sure I’m buying that but at this point I really don’t care because now I have 64 oz of cinnamon fluff that I have to eat before I go to bed.  Why not just pour it out and make me another protein shake you ask?!  Well because that was my last 2.5 scoops and the other protein powder I have on hand does not fit into my macros.  FML!

#fitgirlproblems

I Survived July 4th

Only 2 weeks in and I was put to the ultimate test… sticking to my diet while spending an entire weekend on the boat.  So for those of you that don’t know me, there is no greater happiness for me than to be on a boat, on the water, with a drink in my hand.  This is an absolute trifecta so missing any one of these pieces… collapse.  Although if I’m honest this theory had yet to be tested so it was pure conjecture.

So one thing I have yet to mention and explain it’s place in this journey… something very near and dear to me… alcohol.  I am allowed to drink 1 – 2 days/week.  However I have to take all calories consumed in alcohol, divide by 4, and subtract that from the carbs for the day.  Well by the time I eat the required carbs for breakfast and my pre and post workout it really doesn’t allow much for alcohol consumption.  So to maximize my intake I worked out in the morning so that my breakfast and pre workout meal were one in the same and only consumed protein and fat the rest of the day (yes… I was desperate).  Even with all of this effort that only left me with 6oz of vodka.  So the plan was to wait until the end of the day when I was drained by the sun and drink it all at once hoping for a decent buzz.  Yeah… no such luck.  I thought it was going to hit me like a Mack truck since minutes after drinking it I started to feel tingly but unfortunately that was as far as it went.  Sad story!  Needless to say the next day I went back to my normal diet and said “screw it!”.  I guess on the bright side by the end of this my tolerance is going to be super low and my bar tabs will drop dramatically! #fitnessgoals #savingmoney

PS- Apparently the trifecta wasn’t as strong as I thought it was.  I still had an absolute blast and was stone cold sober the entire time.  I guess it’s really just a bifecta… yup… making up words now.  I do what I want!