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

 

Motivation Monday: Shifting from Neutral to Drive

Good Monday Morning!

Have you noticed that Mondays get a bad rep? I mean, just perusing my Facebook page brought to light that Mondays have it rough. To me, Monday is like a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to make changes and press ahead! How do I get to this optimistic outlook? I follow a few simple tips to keep my goals and outlook fresh and ready for refinement. This ensures that I don’t allow myself to slip into neutral and become complacent. Want to live a passionate life that’s filled with goal reaching? Read on…

It’s probably no secret that I have issues right? Hey! I mean health issue (although the jury is still out on the psychological issues!). Due to the fact that I didn’t really start to understand the implications of caring for my earthly body until a few years ago, my body seems to have a lot of pent-up anger issues and expresses them in the form of arthritis, inflammation and sciatica, among others. I learned the hard way that simply forcing my body to comply with my wants and goals did not work. The more I would fight against my body, the worse my health would get. It’s during times of flare ups that I am truly tested though. It’s pretty easy for anybody that doesn’;t deal with health issues or the battle of the lazy bones right? What happens when you have to shift?

All too often we simply shift to neutral. We allow ourselves to get down in the dumps and feel as though we’ll never make it. This can happen in the instance of injury, sickness, family emergencies and the general business of life itself. We feel as though we were doing such a great job and then WHAM! we get knocked down. It can be an uneasy and downright nasty feeling, BUT there are a few ways to press on:

  1. Realize that “life balance” is just as elusive as perfection. Nobody’s life is completely balanced all the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and I have yet to meet the master of balancing everything. As one part of life starts to take more attention, other parts will get less. That is why knowing your true priorities is key to feeling successful. For me, I made my call to missions and my husband and kids my top priority (granted, this took me 10 years to figure out! I’m trying to help you avoid my pain). That meant that some classes and gym time had to be altered or cut altogether. Is it hard? At first, yes, but you get to be quite proficient at it after a few weeks! Prioritize and work within those boundaries.
  2. You CAN re-evaluate and re-structure goals. Who made the rule that you can’t touch a goal once it’s set???? Seriously! What if you made a goal to lose 10 pounds and met it in 2 weeks. Are you completely done with goals? I certainly hope not! Goals can be altered to fit the state of your life. I started the year with some super big goals. One was to compete. This particular goal has been re-evaluated and set aside (for now). Why? Well, if you must be so nosy :) it isn’t lining up with my core values and priorities. I am making trips to teach self-defense to trafficking victims all over the world and my training has been altered to suit THAT goal at this time. See how that works? I’ll give you another example. A few years ago I decided I wanted to leave the house and the business and go work for a LARGE chain gym. I interviewed off the charts and was offered a near 6 figure income. Pretty sweet right? Well, here’s the catch…I would have been working every weekend and over 60 hours a week. This would strip me of my #1 priority. I had to turn it down and turn my trust up a notch! I’m glad I did because shortly after we decided to home school my youngest. Give yourself permission to re-evaluate every 4-6 weeks and see what needs to be altered.
  3. Catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. If your goal happens to be weight loss, health or more money, you will find yourself disappointed more so than not. You see, we need a cause, a bigger picture, a reason so to speak. As I was focused on weight loss, I kept thinking life would be so much better after I lost weight. Well, I became OBSESSED with that goal and priority 1 was out the window. I was seeking the approval and attention of others 24/7. I was getting sick all the time and training myself to the ground. I thought it would be better once the scale cooperated.  Well, at 104 pounds lighter my finances were no better, my kids still fought and after years of trying to fit into smaller sizes the big department chains stopped carrying 0-2. I got thin when it wasn’t cool :) . The bigger picture should have been focused on the health of my family and the reason I was here on earth at all. Change your perception a bit and loosen the reigns on tangible goals. Broaden your mind ;)

By taking the time to set your goals and priorities into alignment, you’ll create a successful life. After all, balance is totally overrated!

 

Michelle

 

Be Resolute

Have you ever wondered why resolutions fail so often? It can seem like a rather blunt question only 4 days in, but think about the resolutions you set last year. Were they all met? Were you just as passionate about them in June as you were in January? Did they hold the same weight all year long?

I was reading a statistic the other day that stated of all the New Year Resolutions, there were 2 that always seemed to make the top of the list. Can you guess them? Finances and Health.  Now, I’m sure you realize that there are MANY resolutions that can fall under both categories, but I’ll let you stick to your own for our purposes here. The exact same statistics also stated that a whopping 60% of people give up on their resolutions by March. Sixty percent! March! That’s not even a full third of the way through people! So, what’s going on here? Better yet, how do we make sure we’re in the 40%?

There are many issues with resolution setting that can either make or break our resolve. That’s what resolutions truly are right? They are tests of our human resolve to change something about our lives and press on toward a goal. Simple as that…. Here are a few ways our resolutions can head South faster than we can down our box of Valentine’s Day chocolates:

  1. We don’t write them down. You have to write it down and make it known in order for it to truly take the form of a goal.
  2. We set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and those around us.
  3. We do not think about the aspects of our life that we truly can control.
  4. We sweat the small stuff.
  5. We don’t re-evaluate.

So, those who can relate to those 5 things are in the 60%. You, however, want to fall into the minority. You want to conquer that resolution once and for all, not let it conquer you. So, what are you to do? I’m glad you asked. :)

  1. Write the thing down! Better yet, tell EVERYBODY! I’m serious here. Start a blog, a Facebook page or Twitter feed dedicated to you conquering this goal. It can be quite empowering AND it is built in accountability.
  2. Find an accountability partner. You need somebody who will slap you right off your pity party train and back to reality. You need a friend that loves you, but does not cater to you. They need to be tough and know that theirs is a truly special job. If you don’t already have that friend in your circle, broaden your circle a bit.
  3. Reverse engineer your goal to make sure it is truly attainable for you. Know what your goal is, then work your way backwards. this is where we think about what it will take to reach our goal and what we may have to give up in order to move forward. This is a VITAL step. It helps prepare you for your goal and it gives you and absolute plan of attack. This step takes you out of the “it sure would be cool if” zone and places smack in the “I’m going to DO THIS” zone.
  4. Know what aspects of your life YOU control. You cannot control emergencies or work drama. You can control what you eat, your workout, and your gossip. Yes, I said it. If you don’t want drama around you stop adding to it!
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So, you had a moment of weakness and the siren call of the Dove dark chocolates was just too much to resist. So you popped in a movie and polished off the bag. Oh no wait, that was me :) . Yours may be a bit different, but here the deal: move on! You missed a workout, ate too much at dinner, sat on your butt instead of working it, worked late when you vowed not to, carried work anger home with you, snapped at the kids, misjudged a friend, forgot to put gas in the car…etc. You are HUMAN! You cannot change that no matter how hard you try. Humans make mistakes. We forget, we indulge, we get lazy. It’s just who we are. Move onward and LET GO.
  6. Re-Evaluate your goals every 6-9 weeks. You may stay on perfect track. If so, please let me know how you do it! If not, it’s OK. Know that you have the freedom to alter goals that are not working for you. In the course of 1 year life can change a lot! I mean, it takes mere seconds to get pregnant and less than a year for a baby to come into this world. Life changes! Be flexible enough to roll with it to ensure success. Be clear with the fact that you are NOT giving up on your goals, simply altering them. Know the difference.

So, what are your action steps today? Maybe you need to sit down and write out those resolutions. Perhaps it’s time to reverse engineer the crud out of them. Do the research! By the way, whatever goal you have, somebody else has already accomplished it. Ask them how they did it! Be an active participant in your own life. Start a blog. Let me know where it is and I’ll be happy to check it out! Work forward every day, never back. Soon enough, you will be in the 40% and we will welcome you with open arms. :)

LIVE OUT LOUD this year!

Michelle

New Year Resolution Solutions! Happy 2013!!!!