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

 

Supp Thursday! Product Review, News, Views and anything else I can think of :)

Happy Thursday!

Hope ya’ll are feeling fine today.  I’m on very first ISACleanse (is that a thing? That’s what I’ll call it) which I will detail you on BELOW. For now, let’s get to some reviews and tips shall we?

HEADS UP! I’m doing a fat burner review

So, I’m not a HUGE fat burner fan (except for the ones I have sculpted into fat burning furnaces…..AKA, muscles), but it is a question I get asked ALL THE TIME. So let’s tackle it.

Good to know: fat burners were originally created to help competitors and avid body builders garner more energy for workouts while living a low-carbohydrate lifestyle. The body digs carbs for energy and when you eliminate them to shred the body, it can retaliate with LOW energy and even rebel at the gym. SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!!! But it is. While the original intent of fat burners and stimulants was to give a boost to the fit masses, studies now show that more and more average Joe’s (don’t roll your eyes, unless you’re cranking away HOURS in the gym per day then you fall here. Accept it and be proud!) are turning to so-called fat burners for weight loss. Weight loss was not the original intent of fat burners and ANY product that promises HUGE results with little effort should be approached with caution.

So, is there a fat burner I CAN use?

There is one stack (I dig stacks since no ONE supplement works awesome all on its own) I have been trying and totally dig for many reasons. It is the BLISS Weight Loss Stack from 1st Phorm.

Even though I am in the fat loss phase of competition, I still only take 1 pill a day.

What’s so special?

Well, they don’t try to make you believe this is a miracle drug. In this pack you get 3 products:

  1. Thyro-Drive which utilizes a mixture of amino acids and herbs to increase thyroid production. BE CAREFUL HERE: anytime you mess with hormones (like….when you eat) you can set yourself up for success or failure.
  2. Bliss which is a highly functioning thermogenic (what you think of when you think about fat burners) that uses all the heavy hitter in lower doses to decrease the risk of the jitters.
  3. Downtime PM is my FAVORITE since rest and recovery is where I struggle the MOST. With this product you get your melatonin and also your valerian root and black cherry (for soreness), PLUS digestive enzymes and even MACA root (for sexual health). It is magic! I kid….no such thing. It does help to promote more restful and deeper sleep though.

You can check out the links above and read up on the info (they provide EVERYTHING you need) if you’re interested. Men, they have you covered with the Commander pack.

One thing I HAVE to address is the customer service of this company. I have heard from the founders (after entering the athlete search) and after my purchase of the above product I received an email from Kit Kitson just checking up on me and seeing how I liked it. They didn’t know I was a blogger or trainer and were not trying to butter me up (mmmm, butter), but they even offered help with training and meal planning if I needed it :) . That’s a pretty awesome thing to witness…..a company that goes above and beyond.

1st phorm

 

THE CLEANSE!

So, my awesome contest prep coach (Busy Mom Gets Fit) suggested I give Isagenix a try during prep. If you know me then you know I’m a research junkie so I spent the past 4 weeks pulling up everything I could behind the company and ingredients. Most of what I found was super awesome, so here I am on my cleanse day :)

What is it?

It’s a very simple nutritional cleanse backed up with research on intermittent fasting. I am also a huge fan of intermittent fasting and have seen great results. The Isagenix cleanse takes it a step further by taking your fasting day and replenishing the body with nutrients. Fasting itself is highly beneficial and now you can fast and do a great rewire to your entire system.

Since I’m just starting I’ll be giving YOU updates on progress (including some pics you WON’T see on my INstagram) and keeping you up to date on what it’s all about. If you’ve already been doing research and want to cheer me on by completing a cleanse yourself, then jump on it HERE….or you can just get more info.

I mean, if Lori Harder does it, why don’t we ALL do it? LOL

Lori Harder

 

For now, I’m taking my fasted self downstairs to fix a cup of tea :) So far, so good.

Rock on with your day and I’ll see you back here next week!

Michelle

 

Work IT Wednesday! Kettlebell HIIT Workout

Welcome to mid-week mania!

Here’s a short Kettlebell HIIT conditioning circuit I use to tighten and tone everything in a brief period of time. Pick a couple of different weights and hop to it!
NOTE: you can use a single dumbbell if you do not have access to a kettlebell

 

Set your timer for 40 seconds of WORK and 10 seconds of REST. You will repeat this circuit 3 times with a 30-60 second rest between circuits. Let me know how you do in the comments below!!!!

THE WORKOUT:

KB swings (weight stays in heels)

KB swing hops (moving forward and back)

Turkish get up left side

Turkish get up right side

KB around the world (keep waistline TIGHT)

High Skips, holding KB overhead

Figure 8 KB squat

V-UP (use the bosu for an extra challenge)

Make sure you have water and some AMINOS to keep you going.

Strong Camp 95 Photo by Paul Buceta

WANT MORE???? Would you like to SEE these workouts on video? Let me know in the comments.