Funny Thing Happened Today…..

Good morning!

Let’s all get caught up real quick, shall we?

I just started back at the iron yesterday after a 3+ week break (it was forced) due to some health issues (not caused by lifting).

So….I’ve had a few mixed emotions.

First, I am excited to get back to the gym….however, that feeling is followed by the quick second of not wanting to leave home made harder by being home bound for so long. Any introverts feeling me?

Getting up the last 2 mornings has been a mixture of those 2 emotions in some way….going to bed is the same as I seem to talk myself out of going by the time I close my eyes.

THEN, I remember how I FEEL when I go regularly***(see note at bottom)

Funny-memes-how-I-feel-after-the-gym Something like that :)

This morning was my first leg day in what felt like forever, and after yesterday’s eh back workout, I wasn’t too pumped. So, I put on my fave Converse (the BEST for leg days) and set out to train these sticks that have taken me through life so wonderfully.

The workout itself wasn’t epic at all (I don’t favor epic as I try to aim for consistent), but it felt great. I trained legs unilaterally (one at a time) to address the many imbalances in my lower half AND the weight pushed wasn’t too shabby for such a break.

Two very rewarding things happened because of my consistency:

  1. A guy came into the sauna and asked how long I had been lifting. This is sauna guy’s favorite question….and mine too :) . See, these past few weeks I’ve felt small and not in a good way (why do women always strive for small anyways????). My midsection felt fluffy and my arms look like little noodles, lacking the curves they had not too long ago. So this question came as a great source of motivation for me. You see, I’ve been working out for 10 years (12+ years of yoga) and lifting consistently for 4 years. The body goes through an ebb and flow, but my soul mate workout is still there when I’m ready to pick it back up. My muscles start to remember the grip of the bar and the press of standing. I train for something far bigger than a show…..I truly train for the flow of life itself. Other than my marriage, this lifestyle has been my biggest commitment.
  2. A lady in the locker room (who had a cute workout top on) asked, “Didn’t ya’ll have some kind of show this past weekend?” It took me a while to realize that the “ya’ll” meant competitors. I had been added to an elite group. Even if you competed once (or 20 times) and no longer do, it is still an elite group. The group isn’t about who came in the leanest…..it’s about being a finisher. Did you know that under 5% of people actually have what it takes to finish out the goal of competing???? True story. It’s strength of mind and character that gets us there and it’s that same strength that keeps us going when life gets tough. She ended the conversation with wishing me luck on this weekend’s comp. In my eye, I am nowhere near competition shape, but she sees me in a different light.

bursting pipes gym meme

That begs the question of why can’t we see ourselves in that light?

When I go to the gym I wear long tights and baggy tops (although sleeveless cause YEAH!) so it wasn’t my six-pack (which is in there somewhere) or my lines that made her think I was ready for comp…it’s my passion lived out in the gym.

I’m grateful for the passion that I have. The passion in the gym is a gift! I start every morning with quiet time and a thankful prayer. I dedicate my workouts to those who cannot move, even though they desperately want to. I think about what I could be doing each day to inspire women to become the best version of themselves….the version outside of the aesthetic. That’s the one thing I think of and strive to do whether health permits the gym or not. That is my calling and I work out to ensure I am fit for my calling….not my jeans.

Now it’s your turn.

What light do you see yourself in? Does it match the light others see? Are you practicing a life of passion?

I’d love to hear, and I am listening! Let me know how I can inspire you :)

And by the way, thanks for inspiring me….

Michelle

***NOTE: heavy-duty weights is MY soul mate workout and the one I love the most…..you find the freedom to try things and figure out yours. There is no one way.

Strong Camp 14 Photo by Paul Buceta taken at Strong Camp Houston 2014

 

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

After 1

Welcome 2014

 

After 1

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

 

You need to know this lady: ASHLEY HORNER

“Of course I’ve had negative people come into my life…..and they don’t stay long”

Each week I’ll be introducing you to an athlete that will help fan the flames of your dedication. This week is the beautiful Ashley Horner. She is a wife, mother, author, competitor…and she’s even an Iron Man finisher (she’s doing another in May 2014). You can follow Ashley on these sites:

Website: http://ashleyhorner.co

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