That Naughty ‘C’ Word

Yup, that naughty, dirty ‘C’ word…can be abbreviated to a 4 letter ‘C’ word…CARB…there I said it. Carbohydrate, oh, there I go again. So tab00 of me! How dare I use that word…

There are so many ‘diets’ out there today it drives me insane!! Low Carb, High Carb, Carb Cycling, No Carb…how does one keep track of it all?! And truly, they then branch out into different variations of each. I won’t name any of them because really, each to their own and sometimes that is what someone needs to start eating ‘healthy’ and lose excess weight. And honestly, I have done all 4 of the ones I have mentioned while training for competition, but that is different. I would never recommend a competition diet for someone not competing. It is literally a no go zone for me when someone asks me about it. The competition ‘diet’ I was on, was specific to me, and only me. What worked for me, may or may not work for someone else. I had a trainer tweaking my diet, sometimes on a daily basis.

Let’s get back to the normal, average person, wanting to lose weight. What ‘diet’ do you chose? There are so many out there. Ones where you only eat specific food groups and completely iradicate others, mainly carbs. Why do carbs have such a bad reputation?? If one breaks it down further, it honestly is not carbs that are bad for us. It is the processed, packaged foods that are unhealthy. The more processed, the more ingredients, the worse it is for your body. These are foods like crackers, chips, pasta, breads, anything that comes in a package from the store and has ingredients that you cannot pronounce. The best is when the ingredients listed are ‘enriched’ . Really? How much better can a food item get than it’s natural state?

Read a bit further down the list, and sometimes not too far down and you will find ‘sugar’ in it’s many forms. I call this the ‘white poison’. Even my 8 year old says it’s poison ( okay, she heard if from me when I was lecturing someone about it and you can’t get anything past this kid, she has Asperger’s = memory of an elephant!) It is in everything! But, let’s get back to the topic du jour – carbohydrates.

There are many variations of carbohydrates. And we need carbs to survive, to function properly. I have experienced being ‘stupid’ from not enough carbs, you know, like Big Moose from the Archie comics…duh! what did you say? I was supposed to pick up my kids afterschool? Oops! Hello! Carbohydrates help your central nervous system to function, I would say that is pretty important, wouldn’t you?? They also are a fuel supply for the body for energy. And the first thing that someone wanting to lose weight does is cut their carbs. Let’s be realistic, this is not going to work out for you in the long run… unless it is the processed carbs that you are cutting – your processed store bought loaves of bread, white pasta with ‘enriched’ wheat, pizza, bagels, donuts, etc. It is these types of carbs that are ‘simple carbs’, providing you with ‘energy’  and are high in calories but are not the best nutrient wise.

But wait – You can still eat carbs!!! Complex carbs! These are energy suppliers and loaded with nutrients. They are found in whole foods. There are starchy carbs –  Oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, peas, beets, carrots, yams, corn, sweet potatoes, squash…I could go on. You want to eat these kinds of carbs…in as natural form as possible. And watch your serving size. I tend to have these types of carbs in all of  my meals until 3pm. I usually do not eat any carbs after that point in the day. Then again I am always thinking in the back of my head ‘when is the next competition that I might want to train for’.

Then you have your non-starchy complex carbs – lettuces, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers…I could go on…these you should eat as much as your heart desires. The more the better.

I cannot stress enough that if you are wanting to lose weight and eat healthy, you need to cut the processed foods out. You will feel so much better.20140712_111848 The photo here – ” I’m not a bitch, I am low carbing” (post workout of course!) that is a HUGE joke in my house between my husband and I because it’s the simple carbs (bread, pizza, cupcakes, donuts etc.) that I eat for a cheat meal that make me a ‘bitch’. Literally, he said to me one day ‘I know that’s just the processed carbs talking’. Once you cut out the processed foods and start eating clean – the complex carbs only, you will feel so much better, have so much more energy and you may notice that when you eat those processed foods the next time, they will actually make you feel sick. And after they have made you sick, you won’t ever go back. You might consider it, but when you really think about how crappy you are going to feel after eating that piece of pizza, is it worth it? To me, most of the time it’s not. So ya, when people say ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ it kind of is true because let me tell you, not eating that cupcake and not having to be doubled over in pain IS the best reason not to eat it.

And, remember, whenever you are eating…always have protein with your complex carbohydrates …it’s as simple as that. One last tidbit and then I’ll step down from my soapbox…if you really want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to make a lifestyle change, not go on a diet.

I don’t normally ‘plug’ other websites but truly…check it out…http://www.toscareno.com/

The Insomniac In Me

I love my summer evenings. I remember when the girls were really little and my husband would finally get home from work and the girls were fed and put to bed by 7pm. Then it was my time. This was when I would leave the house for some quiet time. At that time I was not at the gym at all, I would head out for a walk usually with the dog. It would not have been the first walk of the day as I made sure that I took the girls for a walk in the morning and/or afternoon as well. One strapped to me in her carrier, the other in the stroller, me pushing the stroller up the steepest hill I could find in the neighborhood.

Once I started my evening walk though, I started to really reflect on the day and destress. At first I started running the downhill parts of my walk and then walking the flat and hilly parts. Soon, I was running the downhill and the flat, and finally after about a month I was running the whole route. Then I started branching out. And I would do this all in the evenings, and depending how hot it was outside and whether or not there was an active forest fire in the area, I would be out at 8pm or later.

I eventually found a running partner, though only for about 3 months we ran together, but she needed to run super early in the morning. And it was at that point that I became a morning person. I was back at work after my last maternity leave and it was nice to get up before everyone else and have my run done for the day, come home and still have time to sip my morning coffee instead of chugging it once it cooled down.

I began at the gym, almost 3 years ago now, heading to the earliest class possible, 6am. Being home by 7:15am and still having 15 minutes to myself before the rest of the house woke up was awesome and that was my favourite time to be at the gym. It’s a great group of people  at that time of day.

But since competition last May…wow, that seems ages ago…so much has happened in life – from injuries to autsim to work, you know, just plain ‘life’ – that I have sleep issues. I’ll admit it, I have some serious sleep issues. And from what I’ve heard, as I age as a woman, it will just get better! Fabulous!!

‘Insomnia – or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired’ as per Wikipedia…and if you do go and read the definition a bit further, it labels it as short term and long term, long term being ‘above 3-4 weeks’…well Wikipedia, this has been going on for months!

Here is the situation: I fall asleep right away no problem but awake 2-3hrs later and am WIDE AWAKE, to the point that I actually get my netbook or cell out, pull the covers over my head and read for an hour or so until I am tired enough to fall back asleep. The other scenario is that I just toss and turn all night, dozing, and never really reaching that deep sleep that we all need to re-energize ourselves for the next day.

This leads to me not getting up at 5:30am to go to the gym. Believe me when I tell you – my husband can vouch for me, I am sure it drives him nuts! – I still set my alarm every morning to try and make it to my 6am class! Sometimes I make it, but more often I don’t. But hey, that’s fine, that’s what the 5:30PM class is for!! And really, once I get to the point of going to the PM class, I won’t fall asleep with enough hours to get up and not be a zombie at the 6am class…you know that pre-workout really keeps me bouncing off the walls until after 10pm most nights.

Truly, it is all about routine and I am so out of routine it isn’t funny. But I don’t think that it is a bad thing. Sometimes we need some casualness in our lives. And I am finding that I like working out in the evenings again.

So, if any of you out there are awake in the middle of the night, drop me a line, you never know, I might be surfing the net or reading a book online!

Sweet dreams!

 

Summer Salads

My favourite part of summer is all of the fresh veggies and fruits that are availabe and living in the sunny Okanagan give us a great abundance. And for someone who eats several salads a day, I like to mix things up to keep it interesting.

Creating your own salad:

1. Choose your greens.

2. Choose your protein.

3. Choose your toppings.

4. Choose your seasoning or dressing.

5. Toss and Eat!

 

Here is one of my favourites,

Spring Mix with Grilled White Peaches:

I start with my leafy greens as the base and I prefer to have more than one type and I usually go with a spring mix of arugula, romaine, spinach, kale, raddicchio and oak leaf lettuce.

My go to protein the majority of the time is chicken.

For a topping on this salad in the summer, my all time favourite would be grilled white peaches. I usually brush on a chipoltle olive oil on the peaches before grilling them to add a little kick.

To add some crunch and salt I add some sunflower seeds.

The peaches are so juicy and already have some oil on them so I sprinkle some peach vinegar over the top of the salad to add some tang.

 

Spinach and Grilled Plum Salad:

This is pretty close the peach salad but the base is all spinach.

Again the protein is chicken.

For toppings it is grilled plums and raw white mushrooms. I use a regular olive oil on the plums and grill them lightly. If you leave them on the grill too long they will turn to mush!

For cruch you could add walnuts or pecans (I avoid these nuts as there is an allergy in my family and you never know when it will be your turn!)

Add a wee bit of goat cheese and voila!

I skip any salad dressing on this salad as well. Personal preference, I rarely use dressing on my salads.

 

One last salad…I am obsessed with asian flavours so this is my spin on a salad…

I use a mix of cabbage, baby bok choy, thinly sliced carrots and chopped up snow peas or snap peas as the base.

For protein on this one either a can of tuna or some grilled salmon are my go to.

I also like to sometimes have sprouts and green onions on top.

For cruch and seasoning, I use Epicures Seasame Crunch topping.

For a dressing, I make my own vinegarette with rice vinegar, olive oil, Braggs, freshly grated ginger, a pinch of garlic and a pinch of Epicures Teriyaki Seasoning.

 

There are so many ways to do salad. The only thing that you need to remember is to watch what you put on or in your salad. Keep it healthy and lower in calories. by staying away from large portions of nuts, cheeses and creamy salad dressings.

 

 

Time for My Comeback…

Ok, ok, ok…I have been gone for weeks…wait…months…ok I admit it, almost an entire year since I have posted. I was going through a woe is me stage…and I still am. And in this stage, I did draft some posts but never ended up posting them. Down in the dumps…but in cognito down in the dumps as I did not want anyone to know how low I was. I am good at keeping that to myself.

I have still being going to the gym…most of the time…eating clean…some of the time…well I will admit, I am eating clean when I am eating…not that I have been purposely skipping meals, just some weeks I have not been as prepared as I could have been and I have not had time to prep snacks and meals to go so I end up away from the house with no food and let myself starve. Which is very, very bad!

I was also feeling like what is the point of this blog anymore, really…I have completed what I set out to do, to go from the couch with pnuemonia (the supine position) to fitness competition…done…okay so is my blog…but then I get messages from people asking questions, asking for advice and I remember one of the other reasons that I started this, to be an inspiration to others and to have others inspire me. And really, I could use some inspiration, lol!

So lets get this going again I say! But, have to keep this one short, my oldest turns 8 today and we are off to her birthday party!!!

I already have several blog posts laid out in my mind and I have the day off tomorrow…oh, and I have some AWESOME summer salad recipes to share too!

Cheers!

Falling Back into Routine

We welcome fall with open arms in our house…fall means cooler weather, sweaters and jeans, kids back to school and life falling back into routine. For me, this is my ‘new year’, my time to start anew and get back on track with life – getting my house back to an organized state, settling in at work after having time off over the summer and immersing myself back into clean eating and getting out of bed and to the gym every morning.

This summer was a stressful summer and I definitely had a poor record for making it to the gym. I had minor surgery and had to not lift anything for 3 weeks. You should have seen the look on the recovery room attendant’s face when I asked ‘define no lifting…’ She said, ‘well you know, don’t lift anything heavy like a bag of flour or your kids’…my response, ‘so, weights are out of the question?’ She look like I slapped her in the face, ‘why would you lift weights?’ I just laughed…no comment!

Getting back into the gym on a regular basis is the easy part. Truly, it is the easiest part for most people. The biggest battle people face is in the kitchen. Day by day, hour by hour, not a moment goes by when I am not thinking about food. Whether it is ‘did I take more egg whites out of the freezer’ to ‘how long til I can eat again’ or ‘damn, I forgot the hot sauce on my veggies!’ And yes, in the evening after the kids have gone to bed and I am puttering around tidying up the house…’hmm, some chocolate chips sound good – walk away from the cupboard’

So how do we tackle this battle head on? How do we ensure that we stick to the program, every meal, every day? And truly, if you want to see results that is what you need to do. Do you need to be strict as I am, maybe not, maybe yes. The key to sticking with it is being prepared. Having those few hours one day a week to prepare and package your food for the week, or doing it twice a week and prepping for 3 to 4 days at a time.

How do I prep my food, that is one of the most common questions that I get on a regular basis – other than how do I manage to make time for the gym – the gym is my time and I do it before everyone else in the house is awake. So as I said, I am always thinking about food, this also includes a running inventory in my head of the protein sources and their levels in my fridge/freezer. I chose my proteins for my week (5 days) and then I chose my veggies. I eat broccoli EVERY DAY, sometimes more than once. Then I cook everything. Pretty vague I know. You will have different tastes than me but one of the most important things to remember other than being prepared is to EAT CLEAN, cut the processed foods, cut the sugar, watch your salt intake and drink lots of water…3L a day.

So here is last weeks example, prepped on Monday evening:

Protein:

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla Protein Powder/Egg Whites/Chicken/Salmon

I precook on the bbq a flat of fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast from Costco.

The salmon I baked on Tuesday for supper that evening and left overs for the week.

The egg whites and protein powder I used to make protein pancakes for breakfast and shakes for my mid morning snack.

Complex Carbohydrates:

Starchy Grains:

Oats, Brown Rice, Suzie’s Rice Cakes (these suckers have only 3 ingredients – brown rice, quinoa and flax!). The oats I use for my breakfast, the rice cakes I eat with my mid morning shake and the brown rice I eat at lunch.

Veggies:

The rest of my carbs I get from my veggies. Last week these were broccoli, cabbage, red and yellow peppers, white onion, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a starchy one – carrots.

Healthy Fats:

Almond butter (on my rice cakes)

Ground flax seed – in my breakfast

Olive oil – salad dressing – if I use any, depends how much fat I have already had during the day, as I usually have a salad for supper.

This all sounds good and such but now you are thinking, what did I do with all of this?? For starters, I cook 1/2 a head of shredded green cabbage with the red and yellow peppers (1 each) and  half an onion in a frying pan, no oil or spray, just a tiny bit of water and then put the lid on so it sort of steams. I don’t put any seasonings in as I do that in the morning when I am packing my lunch, that way I can season it on what I want to have for lunch that day, it is usually ginger and soy sauce or Frank’s Hot Sauce. To ‘prep’ this for meals, I take 4oz of the chicken I bbq’d and put that in a med size rubbermaid container and then pack it full of the cabbage mixture. I also use my rice cooker to cook my brown rice and add 1/2 cup to this and then reheat at lunchtime. Lunch, done!

I precook my protein pancakes, again, I keep them basic and put the season on top the morning I eat them, this is usually cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. These pancakes consist of 1 cup egg white, 1/4 cup oats, 1 tbsp ground flax and 1 scoop protein powder. I let them cool on a wire rack and then put them all in a large ziploc bag in the fridge. When I get home from the gym in the morning, into the microwave it goes for 1min. Breakfast, done!

For my mid morning snack, I prep my shake container every morning, this takes seconds, it’s one scoop protein powder with a scoop of Ormus Greens. I keep almond butter in a container at work beside a sleeve of my rice cakes, I eat 1tsp of the almond butter and 4 rice cakes. Snack #1, done!

My afternoon snack is kind of like another lunch, chicken again (cos I love chicken…actually it was pure laziness and the chicken was prepped!) I prepacked 4oz of chicken and 2 cups precooked broccoli…I notice that i missed the broccoli prep, I take a Costco bag of broccoli and semi-cook the whole bag. By semi-cook I mean I just bring it to a boil and then drain and rinse with cold water. I then prebag into smaller ziploc bags with about 2 cups in each. This way it can be eaten cold or I can chop it up into whatever we are eating for supper. I also buy organic carrots by the bag and peel and wash them, leave them whole in a large ziploc bag, I eat 2 with this snack. Snack #2, done!

I also have a couple of cups of black coffee in the morning…no cream, no sugar.

Having a new schedule at work has made it easier for me to make supper every night. And yes, at times I do cook something different for the kids. One night they had corn, with brown rice noodles and ham steak. Another night they had tortillas with chicken, lettuce, and cheese. I usually eat what they eat minus the carbohydrate/dairy.

This week, I am leaning towards ground turkey, chicken, tuna, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, PUMPKIN, sweet potatoes instead of the brown rice…

You will notice, I have not mentioned any dairy…dairy and I do not get along. Like I said, this is what works for me, it may or may not work for you. If you are looking at starting to eat clean, the best thing that I can recommend is to check out http://www.eatcleandiet.com.

Next time I’m here, I explain the process of a ‘cheat meal’…notice I didn’t say ‘day’!

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes

Fall is my absolute favourite season of the year so I thought why not create a protein pancake full of fall inspired flavours!

Again, the measurements are approximate, I rarely cook by recipe when it comes to ingredients, especially spices…

1 cup egg whites

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 tbsp ground flax

1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup oats

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

I toss all ingredients together into my magic bullet and blend. Makes approximately 6 3-inch pancakes. Try not to over cook otherwise they will taste like cooked egg…that’s the trick with protein pancakes, to find the happy medium where they are cooked and still moist in the centre.

I like spicy, whether it be savoury or sweet and I ended up sprinkling pumpkin pie spice on mine before I ate them. You can always add more or less depending on you personal taste.

Yum!

Pumpkin Pancakes

This is reality…

Been thinking about checking in and posting a photo as I am nearing the 2 month post competition mark. Life has somewhat gone back to normal…seems odd to not be working out several times a day 6 days as week…feels like something is missing.

Today was my first day back at the gym after having 2 weeks off, one by choice as we were camping and the other due to an injury to my neck/shoulder. Each week I take off my hamstring feels that much better…hmmm…

I am getting better with how I look when I see myself in the mirror and in photos. I honestly am my worst critic…trying to go easy on myself yet not so much that I let myself go. Not that I think that I would because I feel so much better when I eat clean and get a good workout in to start my day off right. The days that I don’t make it to the gym first thing tend to be a bit of a blur, my head in a fog as I really haven’t woken up and I feel sluggish and cranky!

I have one more minor set back coming up at the end of the week that will put me out of the gym for at least 2 weeks…I will have to keep myself in check while sitting on my butt recovering and then hit the gym hard in August…coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my decision to compete! Looking forward to getting serious in the gym again.

And for those of you who are wondering where to start on your own journey…check out eatcleandiet.com…I have so many people ask me what I eat on a regular basis and I tell them that I basically ‘eat clean’. It truly is 70% what you eat…and yes you do have to exercise…it doesn’t have to be bootcamp or crossfit, it can be walking, biking, hiking, just get yourself breaking a sweat on a regular basis, eat clean and it will work! Always remember, you cannot out train a bad diet!

Here is my photo from swimming yesterday…almost exactly 2 months post competition. If I can do it, so can you!

July 14, 2013

July 14, 2013

Post Competition Life

Finally summer holidays are here, it’s the first day of no school for the kids and the first day of my week off of work…hoping Mother Nature gets the memo and the sun comes out soon!

It’s been about 6 weeks since competition and in the scheme of things that is a short time period but to me it feels like a lifetime. Maybe it’s because my pulled hamstring has created constant pain that it seems like forever and a day has passed since I pulled it. I had originally planned to take an entire week off from the gym after competition, and that was before I pulled my hamstring…I didn’t make it the full week! I was back by Wednesday, hobbling through the workout. I have continued to workout 4-5 days a week since and plan on continuing to do so…why stop now? We were on holidays last week so I missed most of the week and have to admit that it was the best thing for my hamstring so far! It still is in constant pain, but gets more bearable each day. I am still having to modify some things at the gym and have lost the majority of my flexibility on that leg.

I know many of you are wondering what I am eating now…am I happy to be able to eat normally now? My response is – this is normal, my normal. Clean eating is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. Yes, I have changed what I am eating, of course, I am no longer on a ‘competition diet’ which for me consisted of carb cycling, eating only green veggies, no fats,  and high protein. I am still eating a high protein diet but with more complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Sunday’s are still meal prep days in my house, preparedness is the key to success, and I am not going to let go of the progress I have made. Now that it’s off season, it’s time to still eat clean and use the energy from those extra carbs to build muscle. So excited about this building phase! Really focusing on my lower body at this stage and maintaining my upper body. Still working on trying to get my calorie consumption up to where it should be…slowly but surely! I am a work in progress.

As for my weight loss, or I could also say weight gain, I lost a total of 38lbs in 10 months, 12 of which came off in the last 10 days before competition! Completely normal for those 12lbs to return with regular clean eating and consumption of water. Now to maintain…which has not been difficult and my diet hasn’t been as restrictive as I thought it would have to be, mind you after not eating almond butter for weeks, having some is like a treat in itself…the same with bananas and other fruits. One thing that I am struggling with is the reflection I see in the mirror. Body dysmorphia…not to the dictionary’s definition, definitely not that extreme, but it’s there and a new mind game for me. Really, I know that I am not fat, my size 5 pants are still loose (I used to wear a 10/12!) and I bought a dress the other day in a small…so yes, I know in my brain that I am not fat BUT when I look in the mirror, I no longer see cut muscles, gone is my ripped abdomen…oh, I can still see muscle definition in my body but now that I am hydrated, my muscles are no longer as defined. As well, with the added carbs in my diet, my belly does get puffy by the end of the day, you know like when you are in your first trimester and your pants fit when you go to work but by 5pm you’ve got the top button open, lol! Not to that extreme but that is what it reminds me of. I guess it does keep me in check when the kids are eating ice cream, or other goodies, I reach for them and check myself – do I need this or is it that I just plain want it. I remind myself that food is for fuel and cheat/treats are okay but in moderation.

What’s my plan now? Well, I am always up to something, training for this or that, so I don’t see that changing whatsoever. The weekend after competition I hobbled thru a half marathon (Half Corked Marathon in Oliver – wine tastings every few kms!) Then the annual Women’s Run (5km) the first Sunday in June, top 5 in my age category and 43rd out of over 200 – not too shabby! On July 14th, I will run my first trail race, a 10km train run that is part of the Dirty Feet Series. Will I ever compete again? I never say never! Am already considering my next competition 😉

As for the rest of my life…well, I am seriously looking into getting certified as a personal trainer, but for the summer, I think I will chill out and hang with my hubby and kids!

 

The Competition ‘Experience’

Here we are two weeks post competition and I am finally having the time to sit down and share with you all the actual experience of competition day! That weekend was a whirlwind and I definitely needed some down time, time to spend not planning my meals and spending time with my hubby and girls…and it was our 10th wedding anniversary 😉

I will admit that the 10 days leading up to competition were not as hard on me as I thought they were going to be. Instead of prepping my meals and writing down what I ate, I wrote down what I was going to eat for the next 10 days, meal by meal and even wrote down how much water I was going to drink each day and what supplement I was taking with which meal. I was surprised at the lack of strength I had for my remaining workouts! And was so glad that I took the week of the competition off of work. So many things to do last minute, nails, hair, multiple tanning sessions, last minute fine tuning of my fitness routine, packing my bag etc.

Those final 10 days I lost 12lbs and shrunk down to a size 3!!  There was a noticeable difference in my body on a daily basis as I dehydrated and obtained that ‘shredded’ look. It was amazing. I took photos daily over the final 4 days to send to my trainer who then ‘tweaked’ my meals for that day, adding in complex carbs to help ‘puff’ up my muscles under my shrinking skin. I would have to say that the only difficult part was only drinking 1L of water that Friday and then only being able to swish and spit water for the entire day of the competition. You have the constant hunger feeling in your stomach and all you want to do is chug back a bottle of cold water!

The morning of the competition I woke up not really rested but very excited for the day ahead…until I looked in the mirror…the tanning product that we had selected to use was not agreeing with me and it was splotchy and a greenish colour, almost a black colour in some spots on my body. I tried not to freak out and headed over to a team member’s house to see what could be done. We all met to get ready together, have some red wine, cheesecake, rice cakes with peanut butter and Glosset raisins on top! And to exfoliate my bad spots and re apply the tanning product…what a tedious process! Finally I was resprayed and ready to have my makeup and hair done…We were now 30 mins behind schedule for arriving at the competition. I was doing my best not to freak out…being the type ‘A’ personality gal that I am this was not going according to my plan.

As I walked through the door to the dressing room area a show volunteer had been looking for me, the rest of competitors in my category were already in the ‘pump’ room…WHAT?!?! I had my posing suit on but was in flip flops and a tank top and crops! So much for arriving with time to get ready and relax before heading on stage. I quickly ditched my bag and the rest of the team helped me get ready. I then headed towards the ‘pump’ room where I found out that this was the room where you lift weights and or use bands to ‘pump’ your muscles to get ready to go on stage. So there I am in my 5 inch heals and posing suit and squatting to pick up some weights to start ‘pumping’. This is interesting, I thought to myself. I had no idea that this was done. Then it was time for us to line up by the curtain to get ready to go on stage. At this time I realized that my ‘bikini bite’ was no longer working – another lesson learned…don’t bend over if you want your bikini bite to hold. An angel was looking over me at that moment because the volunteer backstage came over and asked me if I felt  okay in my suit…I meekly said ‘noooo…’ She took control, took the sides of my bottoms in her hands and yanked them up over my hips ‘these need to be up like this’, then she went behind me and yanked my suit up my butt and proceeded to roll copious amounts of bikini bite on one side then placed my suit on it and demanded ‘hands!’ and put my right hand on the right side and the left on the other, ‘hold that til you’re about to go on’…and she was off onto her next mission as I said ‘thank you!’

When you register the night before the competition you get a pin with a number. I was last in line to get my number for registration so I had the highest, I assumed that meant that I walked on stage last…yet another lesson learned…the highest number walks out first, which now that I think about it makes sense, as we are then on stage in numerical order for the judges and the audience. Whatever I think as our category is announced. I walked onto the stage like I owned the place…damn straight I do! This 36yr old, mother of 2, who is down 38lbs and is in this teeny, tiny suit, in front of a sold out house, is gonna show everyone that I belong here, this was my goal, this is my time to shine, I was stage ready and was excited to finally be out there flexing those well-earned muscles! I have to admit that as confident as I was, I could not control the shaking of my lips…of all the things to shake it had to be something on my face, lol! Who knew!  And in the blink of an eye we were exiting the stage…time to head back and change into our costumes for the routine portion of our category.

As I was pulling out my costume for my routine I realized that in all my preparations I forgot my sports bra and underwear…yes folks, I had to do my routine commando style…*sigh* only I would be so forgetful! Thank goodness I no longer have boobs…but only at this moment in time am I actually thankful for that. There was quite a bit of a wait until we went on for our routines, I decided to take some time to myself and head outside for some fresh air and to hide behind a building and work on parts of my routine. I used a garbage bin to stretch my legs and worked on my toe touches, listening to my music over and over. When I felt I had calmed down enough from the craziness of my arrival I went back inside to watch my fellow teammates backstage on the tv in the dressing room.

It was then time to warm up back stage for our routines, there was an intermission prior to our routines so we had about 20mins to warm up and go over our routines. I was so ready, warmed up, energetic, excited and nice and bendy…this was it, I can do this I thought to myself. Then when the time came for us to go on stage, we then went in numerical order…I stood and watched from the side the other competitors do their routines, I kept my legs moving, stepping side to side to stay warm. Finally, it was my turn. I heard my name called and I walked onto the stage. First time ever doing my routine in such a large space, I was unsure of exactly where to stand and how much I would travel over the stage. I heard my music start and I started to do my  routine. I can honestly say that the rest is kind of a blur in my mind accentuated with sharp bursts of white light and burning pain. I do remember getting to the point where I was going down into the splits and it was happening to slowly for my music, (this didn’t happen backstage, the floor back there was nice and slippery and I slid right down no problem) I pushed with my front leg to get down faster and felt pain like I’ve never felt before (and I’ve felt pain people…I wasn’t completely frozen for my first born’s c-section – but that’s a story for another time!) Unsure of what I had done, I knew it was my hamstring but was not 100% exactly what had happened, I kept going, and said in my head over and over – keep going, smile, remember what Carly said, don’t pull faces, now one knows your routine except you, just keep going and smile – so I did and every high kick, split jump and toe touch sent that searing pain up my leg…I don’t know how I finished or how I managed to walk off stage under control but as soon as I hit the curtains my leg pretty much gave out.

Again, I am so thankful for the volunteers at the competition! They helped me behind the curtains, got me down to the floor and had ice on my leg asap! Lucky for me, the volunteer helping me was a kinesiologist. She started to move my leg to see how badly it was injured and was quick to determine that I had not torn my hamstring but had pulled it at the insertion. One of the other competitors trainers was there as well and she went and got my bag and found my cell phone at which point I was able to text my husband who was in the audience to come back stage. After a second session of icing he started to work on my leg. It was so painful. I laid on the floor in my costume for almost 2hrs. A thousand thoughts and emotions were running through me…I was fighting not to cry, and when the tears trickled out I worried about my makeup running! What was I going to do, I was unsure if I could walk let alone do my routine again in the night show. As I was laying there my husband, the negotiator that he is, was speaking with the volunteers, and I was texting my trainer. Consensus was to wait until the end of the show and go and talk to the judges…seemed a bit daunting to me but hey, why not…what’s the worst that could happen. So  we waited. In the meantime, with help, I managed to get up and get changed and start walking around…I also pigged out on a banana and peanut butter on a rice cake, so yummy! And kind of made things a bit more bearable.

At the end of the show, I was back stage and my husband had already sat himself in the audience behind the judges. I started down the side stage stairs as they were speaking with him and they looked over as I hobbled down, one stair at a time. When I actually spoke with them I couldn’t believe that I had been afraid to, they were so nice and friendly. They said that they thought I had hurt myself but that I had kept going so maybe I hadn’t. They had completed all of the judging already so I didn’t have to do my routine again that night but did I think I could put on my suit and shoes to come out one more time. I said I would do my best. I was so relieved.

By now there wasn’t any point in me going home to rest before the night show as I had originally planned…and guess what?! I had been laying in a bit of a puddle back stage while icing my leg and I needed to be re sprayed…AGAIN! Ugh!! I seriously have my hate-on for spray tans! So back I went to the garage to be exfoliated and sprayed…but relieved, all the judging was done…technically I could totally pig out and drink a bunch of water…but I didn’t. I was going to see it through to the end. Once I was re sprayed and re dressed, we headed back into town…

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

For the evening show it was in reverse order for our category, routines first and posing second. I went to the side stage in my tank, crops and flip flops to watch. I might not be doing my routine but it seemed more sportsmanlike and supportive to go and be there even though I wasn’t going on. By this time I had also realized that standing was way better than sitting…sitting only caused more pain and stiffness.

During intermission I headed back to the change room to put my suit on – with help – and those fabulous heels…which I could not put on myself, lol! I felt like a child having my shoes put on and done up by someone else – thanks Wendy! And there I was back in the ‘pump’ room again…this time I didn’t have to pick up my own weights, my husband had volunteered to be a drug chaperone for the evening show so I had a bit of a personal assistant ;P  And one last time we were back on stage. The pain was bearable for the most part until the announcer told us to put our statuets on the stage in front of us…I tried not to make any sounds as I bent over to place it on the stage and then pick it up again as we went to exit. It was finally over…I was elated yet disappointed, the day had seemed to take forever yet go by so quickly! It was time to head back stage to get changed and get ready to go out and celebrate!

My teammates helped me change into my borrowed dress and heels. A volunteer had brought back a tray of cookies, cakes and mini-cheesecakes into the dressing room so we each indulged a wee little bit as we waited for our last teammate to come of the stage.

We had been up since 6am and it was now 10:30pm…it had been a great day and we were all in high spirits as we headed out to Earls to celebrate. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs as we decided what we were going to eat…I played it safe with fish tacos and a side caesar salad, although I did sneak a few of hubby’s sweet potatoe fries.  We didn’t last long after the food hit our bellies and it was off we went to our own homes and comfy beds for a well deserved sleep!

Stay tuned…later this week I will blog about post competition as well as what’s next for me!

Back stage, 3rd Place

Back stage, 3rd Place

 

 

The Final Push…

The final week is finally here…it seems like forever ago that I decided to take this on…almost 10 months to be exact. It is also amazing to think that exactly one year ago I was bedridden and so ill. The human body is an phenomenal thing and health is something that I will never take for granted ever again. I cannot imagine ever going back to the way I used to eat and prepare (or dare I say lack of preparation) food for not only myself but my family as well. Prior to this I had cooked from scratch but never did I truly think too much about the ingredients. I sure do now!

I have to say that over the past 10 months I did have times where I had massive cravings but managed to fend them off until the weekend, that one day, that one meal where I would have a small bit of everything that I had craved over the week. Then the cheat meals became far and few between as we approached the 4 week mark. I was fine with no cheats…this past few days…I have been very good, I have been following my ’10 day out – eat only this’ menu to a ‘t’! I have had some cravings but nothing a glass of water or a piece of gum couldn’t fix. Being in the final stretch where even the smallest slip in food, water or workout could make or break your physique after working so hard for so long is a huge motivator! My sub conscious couldn’t take it any more last night and man did I ever enjoy my toasted english muffin heaped with peanut butter and jam…in my dream of course, lol!

As we approach the actual day, I’ve had a great time getting my first spray tan – when I go this week I will remember to hold my breath when it passes my face, and to put on lip balm so I can wipe it off as it doesn’t taste that great! – enjoyed getting my nails done by my lovely girlfriend with whom I have missed visiting with over the past months dearly – looking forward to catching up! and on Saturday afternoon I got the movie star/model treatment from my dear friends Melissa Voth McHugh and Sean McHugh who are the owners/operators of Voth Photography! They are a fabulous wife/husband team who take AMAZING photos!

We started my fitness photo shoot at the gym at First Strike Brazilian Jiu-JItsu Academy (which when you check out the website you will notice that the owner/operator is none other than Sean McHugh 🙂 ) to do some traditional fitness photos using the weights, kettle bells, medicine balls etc. Here’s a couple sneak peaks:

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Afterwards we hit the beach on Okanagan Lake for some more zen-like photos in nature:

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Perfect evening weather as it had been scorching hot for the past week so the clouds were quite refreshing! It was so much fun as always with these two.

Tonight we have one last practice session – with an audience – in our posing suits at the gym…first time in front of an audience so am a bit nervous! Tomorrow one last full body workout at the gym in the morning and then ‘dress rehearsal’ for my routine with my choreographer in the evening…come Wednesday – last workout before the competition – all cardio, then it’s back to the spray tan booth for another session then off to get my hair done, one more spray tan on Thursday then the athlete’s meeting on Friday night – which is also my 10th wedding anniversary! – then it’s competition day!!!!

I am sure I will be on here again prior to the competition as I am off work this week on a wee ‘staycation’ and am looking for things to take my mind off cleaning the house!