The Road to Figure, becoming a bodybuilder, and why you should do what suits you best

Happy Monday people!!!!!

This particular conversation/post has been on my mind for months now (I have a very busy mind) and it will more than most likely make it to video…..for now, we’ll all read together :)

If you’re just looking to lose some pounds and have zero interest in lifting anything…..please read on! I promise you will get something out of it ;)

Bodybuilding and the Figure decision:

gym selfie 7jpg from fasted cardio, calorie restriction and circuits……

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose to competition.

I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over a dozen years now and I came from HATING sports and fitness of all kinds. I was never athletic and my start in fitness came in the form of yoga. So, after teaching yoga and a load of other aerobics classes, I began to develop an interest in weight. The weight training I did was not bodybuilding as it was mostly light weights with just enough reps to keep me small (there will be a WHOLE other post about our obsession with small-ness soon). It wasn’t until a year ago that I decided to get serious, start an actual bodybuilding program, stop trying different fads, and possibly even compete.

Years ago I thought I would compete in the bikini division and even began some prep. If you’re even thinking of playing around with competing, I encourage you to get to know the different levels of competition and the competitors within them. You see, bikini was going against everything I was…..I naturally love weight in all forms, meaning I can put on muscle and fat pretty easily…taking it off is a different struggle entirely. Training for the bikini division was making me physically ill because I was going against my natural body type. So, last year I decided on figure and started training the way my body responds best :hard and heavy.

In my quest for a figure physique I was able to make peace with foods I had long since left behind (because eating ENOUGH is paramount) and I embraced the discipline it took to put the muscle on and eventually strip the fat off. While contest prep was hard, it was far from brutal or undoable…..coaching is key here. In fact, after a lazy summer (spent with diagnosing some health problems that have been left to their own devices for far too long), I am gearing up to start a new competition season, hoping to bring my best to the stage each and every year.

In my quest for Figure, here are a few things I have learned about Bodybuilding:

  1. You have to be humble. True bodybuilders are not proud and they really do not belittle others. We all start somewhere in this sport and we all realize that in order to be our best self we must be accepting of flaws….in ourselves and others.
  2. It’s not about the HOW MUCH. I always thought it was simply about how much one could lift, but bodybuilding is about having a critical eye that can look for balance. When striving for a balanced physique we have to step back often and assess the situation. When in prep, my legs have to be run to balance out. They tend to hold more muscle than the rest of my body put together….so lifting lighter, added plyo and running are crucial to success.
  3. Embrace your whole body. You cannot HATE your body into submission. It just doesn’t work that way. I had to learn that my body really did work as one unit and if I wanted that unit to be successful I had to lead it as ONE….not belittling or ignoring the parts I felt weren’t up to par.

3 month front progress  3 month back progress Progress pics 3 months apart.

I also had to get comfortable with the changes in my body. That lean machine on the right is NOT the norm as that is the night before stage. The human body (some more than others) likes some body fat :)

So, embracing the changes during and after show prep can be challenging (and a whole other post), but mastering that part of the mind is empowering to say the least.

Now, it’s your turn…..

What if you have no desire to compete?

What can you possibly learn from a competitor?

The lifestyle of a competitor is not that far off from what ANYBODY needs to reach any goal. Check it out:

  1. Consistency. This is the #1 thing you need to reach any goal. Just like in the middle of prep I can’t decide to start eating ice cream for every meal or just do yoga for my workouts, the DAILY things you do can drive you towards or away from your goal. Develop consistent behaviors that propel you forward.
  2. Check in with your progress. No matter the goal, make sure you are checking your progress. I’m not a huge scale fan, but progress pics are the bomb! I could tell on a weekly basis what was changing and what was lagging behind. Develop a progressive system to see how close you are getting to your goals. Try monthly goal checks and to-do lists to start.
  3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I know you hear it a lot, but you really can’t change ANYTHING (weight, money earnings, level of respect, kids behavior, career, etc.) without getting uncomfortable. So stop lolly gagging around and step into the uncomfortable stuff so you can move through and move on!

Whether you’re looking to start your own business or step on stage, you can learn a lot from the perseverance and consistency of a competitor. A lifestyle of success is directly related to a lifestyle consistent with your convictions and goals. Step out of your own way, into the uncomfortable, and fight for what you are after in life.

Stay humble, but stay strong,

Michelle

 

Oh, that fluffy feeling……

I have issues…….I think you know that if you’ve read my stuff :) If this is your first visit, well then, I’m human and have issues. Welcome.

This has been an off week for me. It’s actually quite beautiful here in Southeast Texas, but I have been fighting with wicked allergies. I haven’t struggled with allergies like these since my childhood days! The severity of my cough which stemmed from a head full of snot (not the exact term the doc used), resulted in two allergy meds and an asthma med….with little relief as of yet. I was also told to rest…whatever that is ;) . I am perpetually not a rester. I like to DO things. Unless we’re watching a movie, then I just sit there like a stump on a log. Moving on…rest to me is yoga, Piyo (great program!), low impact circuits, etc. You know, rest :)

This forced rest and fuzzy head could be a great time to work on the devotional book I am writing, but I have been utilizing it to allow my head to enter into a dark space instead. My competition was a little over a month ago and I have put on about 7 pounds since then (give or take a pound). My coach is trying to reverse diet me to a lean, mean, lifting machine……I find myself in a panic. These days I feel much more mean than lean. I call it “fluffy.” You cannot feel fat. Well, you can if you stick your hand into a tub of Crisco, but that would be gross. Fat is a nutrient that we need, fluffy is when you just don’t feel as lean as a certain part of your brain thinks you should be.

During the competition itself I was excited for this time…..then I realized that this time is summer time and includes swimsuits (see previous post for a good laugh on that one). This past Sunday we spend time at my brother in laws pool for Father’s Day (thanks MIKE!) and I realized from the reflection in the window that my mind isn’t always right. Even at 7 pounds heavier, things are still healthy looking. I’m not sporting a six-pack (I’m also not a teenage boy….so there), but everything looks in shape. Body fat is there, but not nearly as noticeable as the muscle and I seem to be in good proportion. I promise I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror for hours checking myself out, this was just in passing.

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose First contest pic on the blog! Thanks to Alfonso Aguire :)

OK, so the above pic is not a realistic version of where my body can stay. That’s why we get pictures at competitions! Duh….. So, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the junior high girl who was made fun of for her weight (and yes, I remember all the comments and all the names…..issues) wants to stay there for special occasions. This part of post-comp is hardly ever talked about though.

So, why am I talking about it? Well, for the .01% of you who may compete, I like keeping it real. For the rest of you, there is something you keep comparing yourself to that holds you back from progress. Let that sink in.

See, my goal right now is NOT to look like I did during my comp (well, I wouldn’t mind that when I hang at the pool…). My goal right now is to add muscle, increase strength AND set aside quality time with my family. That means I can’t spend all day in the gym. Holding on to a past version of myself hinders any progress because my mind is not taking in the present and looking towards the future. I am allowing what was once a small thought to fester and become overwhelming.

Don’t get me started on the old videos and pics before I started to put on muscle.

This can happen to all of us. We get fixated on what we used to look like or what we think we should look like. I cannot tell you how many clients have said, “You should have seen me when…” Well, what’s so bad about now?

I don’t know about you, but right now I do not have any bikini photo shoots in the next 6 weeks. I do have a family vacation, but if your family can’t love you then who can? Most of the time we are harder on ourselves than anybody else. This drives us to a sort of obsession and can literally keep us from reaching our goals!

What can we do?

You know I love it when you ask that! I have a few action steps to get us ALL on the right track:

  1. Get real about your goals. For me personally, I had to realize that I could not want to add muscle and want the body of a svelte supermodel at the same time. That did not lead to consistency of any kind. Muscle is good for me cause let’s face it, I really like to eat.
  2. Enlist some help you trust. Pay for a coach (mine has been so helpful post comp) or join a challenge group. Having this accountability and knowledge is super helpful.
  3. Consistency above ALL. I have said it time and time again: consistency is king (small king, big King is God just to clarify). You must stay consistent to reach any goal you set. If your brain is all over the map, so will your goals follow.
  4. Get a power song! I have a lot of them and my playlist is full of NF, Lacrae, Andy Mineo, and even some AC/DC  :) I’ll share my song of the moment with you though.

There you have it. Four simple steps to a better you! Don’t let the world tell you who you should be or how you should look and don’t let past events dictate it either. Strive for a better you to give back each day and things will start to happen :)

mc-7159 I wanted to use this one for a while :) Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography (in the Baytown/Houston area)

NOW, let’s hear it! Leave your tips and suggestions for reaching goals and not heading into a negative mind space in the comments below :)

 

Motivation Monday: A Peek into My Personal Training

 

***DISCLAIMER: this post is to give you an insight into what I am currently doing during this season to train for figure. It is meant to inspire and help others, but should not be taken as a replacement for training and/or medical advice.***

guns

So, normally I am just spouting off ideas of what you can do to reach your goals right? And that’s GREAT….but it may be nice for you to know that I am human (or so people keep telling me) and have goals as well. Today, I’m give you a tour of my training and nutrition plan as is at this moment. Ready to peek into my personal life? Let’s go!

THE GOAL:

I am competing in 2 figure competitions in 2015. The first will be March 28th and the second will be May 10th. If you’re unfamiliar with divisions in competitions, FIGURE are the gals who are lean with a nice amount of muscle definition. I can compete in the Bikini division now, but wanted to push the envelope even further for myself (that is NO disrespect to bikini competitors, ya’ll rock!). So, the goal of the moment is to put on muscle and lots of it. I have to be mindful of nutrition because I do NOT believe you have to put on FAT to put on muscle (call me crazy, but I call it science). I’ll be walking you through both AND give you a link to my workouts as well.

THE WORKOUTS:

Right now I wake up about 3:55 a.m. and START THE COFFEE :) I get dressed, grab my coffee and supps, and try to hit the gym by 4:30 a.m.

My weekly split looks like this:

Monday: BACK

Tuesday: SHOULDERS/ABS/Cardio (maybe 20 minutes)

Wednesday: LIGHT LEGS

Thursday: BACK

Friday: CHEST/ARMS/SHOULDERS

Saturday: HEAVY DUTY LEGS (I usually lift around 50K pounds this day)

Sunday: NOTHING….absolutely nothing. This is the Lord’s day and I use it to worship and rest….and work the church parking lot once a week :)

This split will probably change in a few weeks, but right now it works. I need to grow the width AND thickness of my back, so it gets worked heavy 2x per week. I’m also hitting shoulders 2x per week, but they are responding VERY quickly. Legs are hit twice, once for development and once for conditioning. I added some MMA work last week, but have to be careful with anything that will cause my back to lean out as I am already quite lean there.

Want to see my workouts? I track them ALL at Bodyspace. You can find them under my workouts. Just remember to adjust sets/reps/weights to your goals and current fitness level.

This particular week is an UNLOADING week. Basically, I’m taking the load of exercise down a notch to give my muscles the chance to adapt. I did it this week because I was starting to feel quite fatigued and having a little longer recovery periods. How I accomplish an unloading week is pretty simple: the VOLUME of exercise decreases. I don’t want to decrease the WEIGHT, just the volume. So, for example, I normally do 5 exercises 5 sets on back day. Today I cut the sets to 3. I don’t want to decrease weight, just the time under the load. This will amplify recovery and I’ll be ready for higher volume AND weight sets next week.

How do I know this?

education You know I LOVE certifications! My newest one :)

NUTRITION:

My nutrition stays very steady and I have found what works best for ME. Please note: following somebody else’s nutrition plan can be detrimental to your goals! You have to figure out what works best for you. Below is an example of my plan. I usually have a 50/30/20 split in macros.

Upon waking: 6 oz coffee mixed with 1 scoop protein powder (my fave drink of ALL time)

During morning training: 1 scoop SIZE ON with water

Meal 1: 1 serving gluten-free cream of rice cereal with 1 scoop chocolate protein powder and 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Meal 2: 5 oz chicken/steak OR 7 oz tilapia, 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup veggies

Meal 3: same as #2

Meal 4: 1 apple, 5 oz chicken, 1 cup veg

Meal 5: 7 oz tilapia OR 5 oz salmon, 1 cucumber

Meal 6: 1 scoop chocolate casein/whey mix, heated gently and mixed with 6 oz water and 4 ox unsweetened almond milk (basically protein hot cocoa)

I’ll get into the supplements later (drat!), but will be sharing what I have found to work WONDERS. I do take a multi-vitamin daily and recovery supps. No fat burners or anything excessive though.

As you can see, I eat a LOT! I can maintain my weight easily around 2500-2800 calories (I totally realize this is a BLESSING!) since I reversed myself out of chronic diets and beefed up my metabolism. This SHOULD make cutting a little easier when prep actually starts (around Christmas, cause I’m crazy). I do a reefed when needed, but right now that’s only every 3 weeks or so. I do not have cheat meals regularly as I have found that the more balanced my nutrition the less I crave anything. A treat for me may be some dark chocolate or even a piece of pizza (healthy pizza) and those fit easily into my macros.

Some other GREAT news is that I got my first sponsor (woohoo! Official ATHLETE!) and you can find my page and supps HERE. So check it out, cause the more the page hums the more my sponsors love me :)

That’s the basics. I will be keeping track of my prep on INSTAGRAM and YOUTUBE, with a few rare posts here. Thanks for your love and support!

Michelle

 

 

Competition Prep Update: 4 weeks in :)

Good Wednesday morning!

Well, this past week has seemed almost a bit of a bust. I’m proud to say ALL workouts were completed, though the cold weather kept me bundled on the couch in between! My sweet Moldovan friends are laughing extremely hard at me right now :)

Temperatures here were dipping all the way below 30! OK, for a lot of the world that’s no big deal, but in Southeast Texas we take this stuff seriously. Since my garage has been converted to my gym, it lies outside of the comfortably 70 degree zone. Even with a heater in there I felt wimpy. So, how did I fix this first world problem I was dealing with? I compromised :)

My morning HIITS are done in my living room, where the new puppy has finally learned not to bite my rear while I’m working out…or just anytime actually. My strength workouts (I’m now trying out a pretty cool little program by Dr. Jim Stoppani on bodybuilding.com) were moved to my bedroom:

bedroomtraining

It’s not the same as the gym ,BUT it made due even for leg day. Since legs are more focused on conditioning during this part of my training, the weights were light and the reps were high (100′s).

I have 6 weeks of workouts mapped out until we leave for our mission trip to NOLA! A lot can adapt and change in 6 weeks, so I’m feeling pumped. I have added some aminos to my daily supps, sipping on them just before my HIITS in the morning and then adding a second dose on the nights I teach kickboxing. Determination is proving stronger than cravings and soreness…all in good time friends :)

My actual show may change a bit as I found out I may be returning to Moldova for a short-term trip just before May 18th, which is the original intended date. I am still fighting for a spot in an online competition. I sometimes find those more challenging since your picture is up for judges to truly review! It’s not just a few seconds on the stage. So, my nutrition will continue to get tighter and today will offer up an hour or so of cooking my fish and sweet potatoes for the rest of the week.

Progress is showing though and I’m due for measurements towards the end of the week and just before my birthday. I have stayed on the clean path and have a couple of treats planned out in advance. For my birthday celebration we will be enjoying some wonderful Ethiopian food and a coffee ceremony. A large part of my heart still resides in Ethiopia so I am happy to see some friends here in Houston. Then, my hubby and I will take a much needed date the following week where I fully plan on enjoying a glass (or possibly 2) of some good red wine.

If you plan ahead AND stick to your plan, results are sure to follow!

prepweek4

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

Competition Update: 3 weeks in to prep

Happy Hump Day!

As promised, I am trying to keep peeps up to date on prepping for my “stage debut” as it is called :) It’s not because I think people are preoccupied with my lifestyle choices, but because there are probably some ladies thinking about competing (or even just taking part in prep) and may find this helpful. So here we go…

OK, so last week I took my official measurements (wowza! but I didn’t cry!) and entered into an online competition that coincides with the date of my upcoming stage comp. My hopes are that this will keep me FOCUSED! Yeah, that’s the plan. So, let me break down what’s been happening since last week:

  • First of all, can I be painfully honest? I wake up every morning thinking this is a HORRIBLE idea! :) True story. I say this because there are many of you reading who think once you have a “fit” lifestyle that it’s easy to maintain. NOT. I am sore every day and always on the verge of chucking it. Hey, I said I would be honest. So, what keeps me going? Well, once I get moving the soreness really isn’t all that bad. I strive to work smarter each day, not harder, and I’m trying more preventative techniques. It really does help to have a specialty in corrective exercise! The main thing that keeps me going is my family though. My husband supports me 110% and has even started joining me on track workouts (along with the new puppy). My kids tell me they believe in my and my daughter even made me an awesome sign to hang up in my home gym to keep me moving forward. Focus on the end goal, not the little things in between.
  • My nutrition has taken a hit as I have shown some oddities when it comes to certain foods. In short, I’m showing signs of intolerance to egg whites and dairy. I said EGG WHITES people! Egg whites and show prep go together like rice and beans. So, I’m adjusting and re-calculating. It’s times like these that I can fall back on protein powders (whey doesn’t seem to bother me) instead of real food. Protein powders are awesome and have their place, but real food needs make up the majority of the diet.
  • The new dog ate my glasses this weekend…doesn’t have much to do with prep except I’m feeling exceptionally old as I cannot see and must remember to make an eye appointment :)
  • My seasonal boot camp has started! I love this time of year as hopeful ladies come together in one room with the goal of improving not only their quality of life, but their outlook as well. Due to boot camp, my schedule if being played with until I find what works best for me. This morning I did yoga instead of cardio. Why? I taught kickboxing from 7-8 last night and though I felt like a true rockstar while teaching, my body felt like an aged rockstar this morning :) Again, the world was coming to an end UNTIL I got moving and worked the kinks out. Upper body and boxing are on deck for this afternoon in between clients.
  • I’m still trying to manage the inflammation my body seems to really dig. I woke up yesterday morning with a full body rash (lovely) and swollen face and limbs. Chalk it up to something ingested and since my diet is bland, I blame something along the lines of supps or environment. At any rate, Benadryl knocks me clean out!

So, as you can see, competition prep certainly has its ups and downs. I am attending a SUPER FUN Fitness Expo at my hometown prep gym Metroflex Houston this weekend. This will help keep my motivation up. Just remember, whether you’re competing on the stage or simply competing with yourself…always keep your eye on the goal because you’ll never know if you CAN until you actually DO.

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

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The glasses-eating dog after booty day :)

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Track workout! I even let him have my water

Re-igniting the Elite

Welcome to hump day! :) My favorite day…

As a general disclaimer: I am embarking on my first round of Figure Competitions this year and will be blogging about the journey once per week here. So, if competitions don’t intrigue you, feel free to check out some other blogs in the archives :)

One week into a light prep (being that my official PREP stage doesn’t hit full on until January 13th) and it’s been a roller coaster already. I have to be SUPER honest with you on this prep stuff because I believe it helps us all a lot more. Let’s start with the meal plan shall we? TUNA. That’s the majority of my meal plan. My hubby and I hit the grocery store ready to conquer prep like a couple of seasoned pros. We loaded the buggy with tuna cans, salmon fillets, chicken breasts and LOADS of veggies (that’s normal though). I got home and immediately wanted to rebel though…

It started innocently enough. I wanted to enjoy meals with my family since my training schedule would kick back in this week and I would be working during meal times. So, I started with “just a little” of what they were having. Mind you, we all eat healthy, but their meals were not on my plan. After that it was accepting the chocolate my kids would offer since refusing would be so rude. By the week’s end I can honestly say I stuck to my plan a good 2 days….SHEESH!

I have also grown very fond of movies over the holidays. Our family got all caught up on the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and Star Trek. We threw some cooler genres in there to even things out as well. Anyways, I really enjoyed being still and cuddling with my kids. I never skipped a workout, but then I would loaf around the rest of the day. This is the very behavior that I warn my clients about. So, when I went last week to get my check up AND hire my coach (unfortunately, not at the same place) I have to say I wasn’t totally shocked that I had gained about 15 pounds over several month. I wish I could ask my doctor if it was hormones, but I know it was me. So, I had a choice: I could feel sorry for myself and try to convince myself that my body was just acting out…OR I could get honest.

It has been my experience in the past that being TRULY honest with yourself is the ONLY way to make the necessary changes. SO, I started with the WHY…

I put on my tights and tank top (as opposed to sweats, which you can hide ANYTHING in!) and headed out to my gym so I could have an honest assessment. As I worked through a grueling conditioning routine for my legs (note: conditioning is a term we use for “WORK YOUR FAT OFF”), I was able to break through several mind and emotion issues that I was allowing to hold me back.

I had been looking through my progress photos over the past year and realized that I was MUCH leaner as the began. So I had to trace my steps backward to figure out what has happened. Wowza, did I discover some issues. So why do I share these faults? I think a lot of us hide behind them on a daily basis.

Let’s discuss where I live first. Baytown is far from the mecca of health and fitness. As a matter of fact, if people see somebody walking outside it is often assumed this person must be homeless or else they would be sitting in their car. The local gyms are used more as meet-ups and social gatherings, as evidenced by the people who go but never show a change in physique. Baytown has more places to eat than it needs and we still push for more establishments and faster service. When I am on my game, I stick out like a sore thumb. I’ll be honest in another respect: I don’t seek out company that challenges me. I don’t surround myself with those who seek to challenge my physical limits, therefore I always feel “good enough”.

Looking over the course of 2013, I was able to pinpoint when it started to get lazy for me. NOTE: where you live and the company you keep are not a viable excuse. They have no bearing on the outcome of your goals unless you allow them to. SO, around the time my son turned 14 I had already been to Moldova and was planning a trip to Ethiopia. The pictures that kept my resolve going slowly started coming off the walls and I slipped into “comfortable” gym workouts. Upon my return from Ethiopia I poured any extra energy into a new business and homeschooling my daughter. I detached myself from my goals and picked up a more socially acceptable laid back lifestyle. When my jeans started getting tight, I lied to myself and said it was muscle. This statement always takes my back to a famous Arnold quote, “If it jiggles, it’s not muscle…it’s fat”. Painfully true…

Now, is having some laid back time bad? Is family movie night bad? No, of course not. What had happened though was that I no longer held myself up to a higher standard. I was so worried about what others thought of my lifestyle that I started to alter it. This is craziness. For starters, we cannot control what others think or how the react to us. Second, why should we dim our light so others can operate on half batteries and still “feel” good? That’s me trying to anticipate others feelings again and that’s wrong on so many levels.

So what am I doing about it? I’m going to work work! I had a long face to face with myself and decided that there was once a time when I loved being part of the ELITE. Why? Because this particular lifestyle is available to everybody! You don’t have to be born special to get into this club and the endorphins are free :) . AND…everybody is in a good mood due to said endorphins. What do I identify as ELITE in my life?

  • I don’t skip workouts. I don’t take a month off for Christmas and then “get back in the game” . My health isn’t some game to be tampered with…it is my lifeline to seeing my kids get married and life full lives.
  • My kids don’t have their own food. We don’t have a “kids shelf” in the pantry. That’s plain stupid. If you don’t eat it, don’t feed it to your kids.
  • I live the example. I don’t expect my family or clients to do anything I haven’t already done.
  • I realize that self-discipline is the ONLY thing that will get me there. No pills, potions or motivational speeches will do it. Discipline…something this new generating lacks greatly.

So it is with this new resolve that I have changed the way I think about prep time. I take the hateful comments and use them as fuel. I set forth to create an example of discipline and perseverance. I try to be the very version of myself that God intended…not a copy of what I think people want to see. I will revel in the good and let the bad slip by. I will realize that I cannot and should not try to control how others perceive me. I will not dim my light to make others feel comfortable. AND…I will stay away from Facebook as it just upsets me :)

Until next week’s installment I encourage you to seek out YOUR very best self and burn bright!

Michelle

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Welcome 2014

 

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Hello Fit PEEPS! Welcome to 2014!

This is it right? This is the year that it will happen. What adventures have you planned? And are you ready for them? I’m going to take you on my very own adventure once a week. Each week you’ll be able to follow my journey to the big stage in Figure Competition and I’ll be giving you an unfiltered view of the prep work. So, let’s get started :)

Last night I met with my Figure Coach, the gorgeous Brandi from Metroflex in Houston (I recommend them if you’re in Houston or Plano!). Before I move on, I know the question of “Um, you’re a trainer why did you hire somebody?” might be on your mind. The answer is pretty simple: I wanted somebody with this particular specialty AND hiring somebody with the industry know-how to make some changes in my body. Sometimes, even the smallest of changes in your training and nutrition will yield BIG results.

OK, so I was thrilled to discover that my body type will work well for Figure :) with a few adjustments. I have about 18 weeks before my show in May and we laid out the game plan. I ordered my meal plan since we all know by now that the food is EVERYTHING! I’ll be eating 6-7 meals per day and ingesting 2 gallons of water as well. My meal plan will actually be tailored to my blood type (research shows this to be a great way to lean out safely), and it will be gluten-free. Why gluten-free? Again, it boils down to research. Gluten can promote inflammation and since I struggle with that already and I am a woman, it will be beneficial for me to give it up. I also plan to drop ALL sugar, even the healthy alternatives of Stevia and Xylitol. Why? RESEARCH! Do you see a trend here? By dropping all sugar my body will eventually stop craving it which will make prep a little easier.

Training wise I will be focusing on building my shoulders and back while conditioning the rest of my body (especially legs). This means my workout split will change as I will have 2 heavy shoulder days per week and 1 heavy back day (these can change as we progress) along with fasted cardio and conditioning for the whole body. May sound like a lot, BUT I am in a position to take the slow and steady route and make sure I stay safe and injury free :) .

So, prep has already begun! I woke up this morning and did some fasted cardio + conditioning in the form of kickboxing (MY FAVE: Turbo 55), have refueled and am planning a great family day. My journal is already inked with supplements, workout, and food intake. I plan on earning every step and coming home with some bling to display :) My first NPC seminar is THIS weekend in Plano, TX. We’re picking up a new dog, so it all works out. AND my Musclemania seminar is the 25th of this month at Metroflex (seriously, check them out!).

Wish me luck and stay healthy in 2014 y’all! Train hard!

Michelle

Looking back to the past and forward to the future…

 

Happy Monday!

Today marks the FINAL Monday of 2013, and what a year it has been. :)

I have recently become OBSESSED with the Flipagram app and highly recommend it if you’re wanting to see your recent year in pictures. Upon my discovery of this app, I found myself becoming quite teary eyed over what had actually happened in 2013. I think we can all fall prey to thinking too much about the future and forget about what has been accomplished in the past 365 days. I would like to take a moment to encourage you to take a look back at your own 365 before we engage in the next round of adventures :)

MY 365:

Can I just take a moment to say WOWZA!?!?!? OK, so much has happened this year, but it must be shared in short hand.

In January I made my very first overseas trip to Chisinau, Moldova and managed to leave a part of my heart there. I was fortunate enough to let go of my need for control long enough to make some lifelong friendships and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity. I am also looking forward to more trips there.

Moldova 4

February marked my 35th birthday, and may I be honest here? ALL the things you read about your body changing, holding on to fat, harder to lean out, etc.? Seemingly true for me :) However, a change in training can yield results.

In May, I celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary to the first and only guy I ever fell in love with…altogether now: AAAAAWWWWWE.

July saw another trip overseas. This time I was fortunate to be accompanied by my oldest and the trip was to the BEAUTIFUL and majestic Ethiopia. It was a trip I will never forget as I saw what true joy looks like, even in the midst of poverty. I met friends whom I will never forget and I was able to see my boy become a man.

Ethiopia with girl

I had a short hitch to my plans by October, but have learned that there are times when we may have the best laid plans, but there are far better times for these plans to come to fruition.

I have seen many days and many challenges in the gym here at home, and have set up my goals and desires for the coming of 2014. One thing I will change is instead of making “Goal Sheets” or “Vision Boards” I am going to make ADVENTURES. See, the thing about adventures is that they leave some wiggle room for life. Life is, after all, a series of adventures. Our lives can be a series of our own adventures OR it can be the planning, waiting and watching of others. I for one intent for 2014 to be FULL of great adventures!

Here’s a sneak peek into my adventures for 2014:

  1. MORE TRIPS! Yep, I hope to leave this country a couple of more times before the year is through and I plan to take more family with me.
  2. FIGURE COMPETITION. Yep, I’ve been toeing the line on competitions for  a couple of years now. Upon a little bit of self-reflection I have realized THIS is the year it’s happening! I need to get out of my comfort zone and be pushed to the max…or I fear I will regret it.
  3. HIRING A COACH. Due to the aforementioned competing, I will be hiring a figure coach. WHY? My specialties are weight loss, corrective exercise and MMA. I need somebody to hold me accountable to my goals and help with posing and all too :) My first interview with a potential figure coach is today!
  4. NEW BUSINESS! I know I’ve made mention of it, but I am starting a brand new business to introduce a new way of thinking that will help in weight loss for ALL levels. We had originally intended to launch this week, but I felt that the time wasn’t enough to put out quality information. So, we will be launching in March, just in time to recommit to a healthy way to reach your weight loss and fitness goals for 2014…cause by then you’ll be tired of starving;)
  5. I want to take a BIG family adventure by the end of the year. You know, one of those crazy cool family vacations you see people ? Yep, that will be us this year.

Those are my top 5 adventures for 2014.

What adventures do YOU have in store? And how will next year look different from this year?

Until 2014, PEACE, LOVE, and PLENTY of LUNGES!

Michelle C

*Disclaimer Note: Video made by Flipagram (FREE app, go get it). Song, CHAINSAW by Family Force 5. Download legally, don’t be a butthead.

 

 

#TBT: Throw Back Thursday

This particular hashtag seems to have become increasingly popular amongst social media picture users. You know who you are people! So I thought I would take full advantage, I mean the opportunity :) to shed a little light on how I went from being overweight, depressed and suicidal to a bikini competing world traveling missionary who truly kicks…butt. So, check it out.

100_1637I happen to be one of those truly blessed people who has fought with my weight ALL MY LIFE. My mom was a chronic dieter as was her mother before her and so on. The number on the scale was never good enough, the number on the pants tag was never good enough, therefore I was never good enough. By the time I was a teenager I had already been on Atkins, the Fat Free Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Slimfast, Weight Watchers, TOPS, nothing-but-salad diet, etc. You name it, I did it. While most young ladies are beginning to notice boys and wondering what they will be when they grow up, I was just hoping the seams of my stretchy pants wouldn’t give out. I begrudged food and everything it stood for and I believed the absolute LIE that it was in my genes. The truth was..it was in jeans.

100_1631 By the time I had my first child I had wrecked my metabolism. I was tired all of the time and walked the tight rope of starving myself and binge eating. I wore a lot of black too….though I still love black :) . I digress… The question most often asked is “How did you do it?” Well, slowly. I did it all wrong for years. I stopped eating meat altogether and existed on tofu and fake cheese for over a year. Why? Vegans were skinny, duh! I just wanted to be skinny. Every time I would fall into old patterns of starvation and binge eating, I would blame genetics (which, when you think of it is like blaming God, RIGHT?) and step back to the back of the diet line to be sold a bunch of bull that made no sense yet I NEEDED them to make me SKINNY. It’s a crazy world out there y’all, buckle up and be safe when looking for answers.

I found yoga after a few years and things began to unravel. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I thought about COMPETING when I’m in my mid-thirties, I would have laughed until cried…then I probably would have just cried. So, the steps have been many. Please to NOT discount what I said there: MANY! There is NO shortcut that will get the results that are worth the work. There are no drinks, powders, potions, pills, gels, creams, or even surgeries that can expedite HARD WON results. So, what does it take then?

along the way Step One: HONESTY. I hate to be the bearer of horrifying news BUT…the excess fat hanging around on your body was your decision. WAIT…what about my friend that eats whatever and is tiny? High five them and tell them God must not have thought they could handle the weight loss situation and that, my friends, is why we are all created differently. By the way, don’t think your thin friend has an easy life; they probably deal with things you could never imagine. That info was extra and free, you’re welcome :) OK, SO…be HONEST with yourself. If you’ve been relying on false measures for weight loss, it will backfire in the end. Sit down and look long and hard. In order to shed weight (the more weight, the more change) serious LIFESTYLE change has to occur. That crap about “You’ll lose all the weight you want and never feel deprived” is plain and utter BULL. The first step to cracking the weight loss code is taking an honest look at what you have to work with and what got you there. Basically, whatever got you there needs to be ditched and a new normal needs to take hold.

100_1638 Step two: TAKE ACTION. You know what happens when you talk about reaching your goals? NOTHING. You shouldn’t have to go around justifying your goals and re-explaining them just to keep yourself on board. Less talk, more action…literally. You HAVE to move MORE than you are comfortable with moving to make a change. Again, free advice :)

After2 Step Three: PATIENCE. You must become the Ghandi of weight loss patience. Do not rely on the stupid scale (I will blog in-depth about my scale conspiracy theory later!) and realize that your jeans may fit different from one day to the next. Why? Because your body is a living, breathing, ever-changing organism dude!!! Why on Earth do we think that it should just comply neatly without change or fuss. If I want a smaller butt, then my butt should shrink without anything else changing. WRONG! Your body is in a constant state of change and energy balancing. This is why your weight can fluctuate and why you can feel super tight one day and like a swollen piece of road kill the next. We are sometimes unaware of the salt content in foods and our water balance is hardly ever spot on, so be patient with yourself. It takes longer than 12 days, longer than 12 weeks, longer than 6 months! I think REAL lifestyle change does not truly sink in until after 1 full year honestly (SSSSHHHHHH: I cannot tell you about it right now, BUT something HUGE is coming!). Grow more patient as you reach each individual goal (check out Goal Setting on this blog to figure out how to do that effectively) and TRUST THE PROCESS.

After 1Step Four: Own it. You wanna know the COOLEST thing about reaching a goal that YOU worked for? You can sit back and take a moment to relish in the work you accomplished. You don’t have to give props to some drink or pill…you can say it was you. Well, in my own personal case, it was myself and God cause there was a lot of prayer involved! You can’t hate your way to your goal. Jealousy of others will not get you there. It is, quite literally, all you. I can give you meal plans, workouts, regimens…but at the end of the day you decide if you want to be the person who leaves a legacy or a whiny little life of “IF ONLY”.

Today is the day you decide. Don’t wait until after the holidays. DO it now! Make your plan, make a change, do it for yourself, your family and the rest of the world that is waiting for YOUR impact.

Peace, Love, and Lunges,

Michelle

 

HAPPY MONDAY! FREE workout, just because :)

Welcome to Monday!

Take a deep breath, clear your lungs of the stale air that holds your energy back and force the world to accept the new you people…. THIS is how a winner thinks.

Over a weekend (especially for those who enjoyed a long weekend), there is an uncertainty that can creep into the psyche of even the most dedicated of athletes. Friends and family want to know why your “still doing this”. Like being fit is a seasonal thing and we can slob up during the off-season. My advice to you is to ignore the haters and strengthen your resolve with a good butt kicking workout. Remember, haters can tear you down or strengthen your resolve. It’s totally up to you how you choose to deal with them.

BLAST IT OFF WORKOUT!

Warm Up: 5 minute jog on the treadmill. Stretch quads, hamstrings, calves, IT bands, glutes and hip flexors

Squat to overhead press. 15x

Walking Lunge with Bicep Curl. 20x

BURPEE. 10-15x

Plank with dumbbell row. 16x (8x each side)

Weighted punch. In a wide squat position, grab 3-5 lb weight in each hand, brace your core, soften your elbows and punch at shoulder height to one target. 60x

Jumping jacks. 50x

Push up to knee tuck. 12x

Perform 3 circuits.

Remember, focus on the quality of movement and perfect your form before adding weight.

Peace, love and lunges,

Michelle