This blog is a shout out to all competitors who lose that loving feeling for competing and decide to take a break. It's also a shout out to those competitors who choose to not listen to their bodies, hearts, and minds, and "persevere" when perhaps they should really take a break. It's amazing what a little time and perspective can give you.
I'll admit, I'm new to blogging. I've never blogged a day in my life, but I've always found it to be an interesting commentary on human interaction. You have someone (ie, the blogger) sitting behind a computer, typing furiously about their thoughts and feelings to an unknown reader. Said blogger can say WHATEVER they want without fear of ridicule. It's much like sitting on the shrink's couch, in a way. So here I go - feel free to analyze as you wish :)
I began my physique journey back in June of 2009. I remember the day very well. I had spent the week prior in San Francisco, eating my way through the city, enjoying every bite. French toast, martinis, as much seafood as I could fit in my face, more martinis, pizza, pasta, Ghiradelli sundaes, medium-rare steaks - you name it, I ate it or drank it. It was a wonderful trip with friends, but by the time it was over, I was READY. I've always dreamed of having a 6-pack: those ellusive lines that make us look that much sexier when we're naked. I've also always dreamed of having nice shoulder caps, with some bicep veins thrown in for good measure. When I see a delt taper, I get excited, and I also have a thing for vascularity. BP loves muscles.
To give you a bit of background on my quest for physique perfection, I've been an athlete my entire life: I played soccer, basketball, softball, and ran track in high school, and I played soccer and softball in college. Hard work, endurance, dedication, and perseverance are characteristics that are in my blood. I will always identify myself as an athlete first and foremost, and I continued to work out like an athlete after I graduated. But I got a little lax on my diet and started running half marathons as an outlet for my competitive nature, and before I knew it, I was a doughy 133lbs - a result of too much cardio, not enough weights, and a diet that compensated for my daily calorie burn (ie "I can have these pancakes - I ran 9 miles this morning!). Completely normal weight for me, but I was frustrated with my physique. Sure, I looked good in a bikini, but I had no definition to speak of, and it really bothered me. What to do, what to do.............so I hired a personal trainer.
Enter my now good friend, Leigh Ann Yeager. Leigh Ann, or LA as I call her, is a national level fitness competitor, and a total badass. I call her the "Pitbull in pigtails," and she totally lives up to this name. That girl whooped my ass 3 ways to Sunday, and I lost about 10lbs in 2 months, gained tons of definition, and was finally looking like I wanted to. After seeing such fast, drastic results, we discussed the possibility of me competing. How hard can it be, right? Ha!!
Over the next 8 months, LA beefed me up, ripped me up, and got me stage-ready. I got up to about 140 before my show taper started, but I was LEAN as hell - about 13%bf before my 8 week prep. My 8 weeks of prep included lots of carbs and calories, hardly ANY cardio (I didn't do any until about 3 weeks out, and when it did finally start, it was all interval work - 20-25 minutes and DONE. No 2-a-days - ever), and tons of metabolic circuits that drove me to the point of puking a few times. Back to my athletic background: in case you can't tell, these types of workouts are the SHIT in my book. I barely cut carbs, didn't have a "dry out" week, per se, and was drinking a full gallon of water on show day (most people cut it out completely, or drink less than a liter). I never took fat-burners or any supplements either. Yes, I'm quite vocal about being a truly all-natural athlete, because supplements are totally abused in this industry, and some people consider them "vital." What a load of bull. You know what they give you? Expensive urine. I am proud to show that a stage-worthy physique can be accomplished by eating right, exercising HARD, and relying on your body to do the work for you. Stop the maddness with these pills that promise "Massive increase in muscle size!" "Extreme vascularity!" "Unbelievable fat loss!" Shut up, already.
Moving on.....................moral of the story is, I was tight as HELL for my first show and ended up taking first in my figure class. And my prep was a CAKE WALK. I kid you not. I remember saying to myself, "Why do people complain so much about the cardio and about not eating? That was easy!!" Sure, I did some cardio, and sure, I was hungry, but I never felt weak or dizzy - energy was never a problem. So, seeing as it was such a breeze for me (I will admit, part of it IS my genetics), I decided that I wanted to compete again, but nationally. As her first figure client, LA told me that she'd feel more comfortable if I trained with someone with more experience, so I followed her advice and sought out a new trainer. Perhaps this was my downfall. Perhaps I got too big for my britches and too ambitious in that first year. Looking back, I think I should've stopped while I was ahead, and entered a loooooooooooooooooong off season with Leigh Ann. Had I done that, I would've avoided the worst, toughest prep that I could have imagined, the result of which was a lack of motivation and an eventual decision to stop competing for a while. But this is not a tale of doom and gloom - it's a tale of a girl who decided to actually LISTEN to her body and who, as a result, is extremely happy!
But...............more on that in Part 2!