Summertime woes: A realistic look at swimsuit season

It’s June 16th here and if you live anywhere in southeast Texas, then you are probably hunkered down with your bottled water awaiting the ominous sounding Tropical Storm BILL….just the name inflicts fear. ;)

More fearful than any tropical storm is swimsuit season. I think I can speak for us all here right? There are just so many things that can go wrong…

I had my very own little run in with swimsuits a couple of weeks ago. You see, I can’t swim….I’m more of a sink or float kinda gal. Meaning when in a pool of water I usually end up close to the wall canoodling with my hubby :) totally acceptable behavior.

Anyways, I decided that this summer I should branch out. I mean, I just got onstage in the world’s tiniest bikini and was judged for goodness sake! I think I can learn to swim a few laps for sport. So, on we went to Academy to get a slightly larger and much more supportive suit….

Into the lion’s den:

It started off rather innocent enough. I walked in feeling full of confidence and eager to get this party started. I grabbed several suits in several sizes (cause you just don’t know with those things) and catwalked my way to the unisex dressing rooms…because we girls can have secrets no longer. I got the first suit on with a great struggle and looked in the mirror. Not good. Like, really not good. I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I had just competed. I then promptly wondered what the heck I had been eating. It seemed like whatever wasn’t firmly encapsulated in the suit spilled elsewhere in the most unflattering fashion imaginable…..sort of like sausage which was busting out of its casing. With much effort, I removed the suit, though I did worry I might have to call in assistance. I picked up a larger size in bright red…side note: that’s a LOT of red no matter what your actual size. Though this one was a little easier to put on and the spillage seemed slightly more contained, I still began to question my training and nutrition. I didn’t bother with the third suit and I marched out to put those demons back in the cavern from whence they come, otherwise known as the swimsuit rack. I then perused the bikinis only to decide my fragile ego couldn’t handle that right now.

For the next couple of weeks (weeks, people) I struggled. It felt like my workout pants were tighter (um, they’re spandex). I got sick and had to go to the doctor where the nurse weighed me and I didn’t appreciate the number she wrote down (you’d think we gals could help each other out). I then had to go through old videos where all I could think about was how thin I was and that all my clothes fit then….

Here’s the catch: I work to empower women to forget the scale. I strive to have more women comfortable in their own skin. I love the variety of bodies on the beach and want others to focus on progress, not perfection. So what the heck????

There are many things that can go wrong while swimsuit shopping. Do any of these bring back horrid memories of yesteryear?

  • Swimsuit sizing if really weird! I think if I wear a medium in workout tights then I should wear a medium in swim bottoms. Is this too much to ask??!?!?!? When going through sizes, I always feel as though I have stumbled into the toddlers department and nobody was kind enough to point me to the correct place.
  • Lighting: really people? It seems as though the ONLY lighting available in these places is the large spotlight used for interrogations…..”Did you really log ALL of your food this week?” “Yes, I swear! I’m not guilty!!!!!” The higher end stores splurge on slightly softer lighting which makes me spend more money. I await a swimsuit dressing room lit in carefully placed tea lights and playing smooth jazz to mellow my fear.
  • You have to keep your underwear on while you try on swimsuits. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great rule, BUT it also added like 10 inches of fabric to my hips (OK< maybe not, but it feels like it).
  • Cellulite LOVES swimsuit shopping. You may not even see it in your shorts that morning, but by the time you pull on the plastic lined bottoms you can rest assured it will rear it’s dimpled head.
  • There seems to only be 2 (maybe 3) options when shopping: barely there skimpy OR old lady afraid of sunburn. The possible 3rd is the “fat displacing” ones that really do nothing other than squeeze body fat into even weirder places.

It’s a wonder any of us get out of the dressing room! The attendant smiles sweetly and asks “Did everything work out?” while I stand there with 23 different suits and tears in my eyes….I muster enough courage to smile back and say “Yes.” Like, duh, I like to keep at least 10 different sizes on hand!

To make matters worse, women are held to different standards than men. The men in my life don’t fret over whether or not their abs are flat in their long trunks….they really just want to make sure the trunks are big enough to allow movement and eating. Who eats in a swimsuit?!?!?!? If I ever get in it I certainly don’t want people to see me eating. That might make me relax my abs, which is one of the unforgivable sins. Guys swimwear sends a totally different message! It says “You’re cool man. Captain America trunks make the ladies believe that under that beer gut you actually look like Captain America”. Meanwhile, we slather on firming creams and practice rolling in and out of chairs so visible stomach flab won’t show :/

How do we make it better? Well, first off, we MUST adhere to the truth that we are all a work in progress. Progress denotes change….we are therefore, ever-changing. There is no such thing as the perfect body and I believe variety is a good thing. The second thing to remember is that body fat is normal and to be expected. Now, how much depends on lifestyle choices. There are a lot of lean people, but the only ones who are fat-free suffer from serious medical issues. So be thankful for your health.

I will be embarking upon a swimsuit shopping extravaganza soon and I have a plan that I think may just work. First, I am enlisting my besties to go with me. This sort of thing is better enjoyed in a group. Second, a good lunch with a couple of glasses of wine will be enjoyed beforehand as swimsuit shopping sober should be reserved for the youngsters who have yet to mature into their cellulite. Third, as women we must realize that we are far harder on ourselves than is necessary. We are defined by our character, not by any number.

So, I encourage you to go forth and shop heartily sisters! Show your daughters that we are comfortable with the changes and challenges of life. Be the best example to others of grace while in the dressing room…..and I pray every dressing room door will remain on its hinge during your adventure.

Be bold because you’re already beautiful,

Michelle

mc-7059 Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography

 

Summertime News and all things healthy :)

Good Morning!

I hope this post finds you feeling healthier and if not, drink some water……chances are you are dehydrated :)
So, I get that blog posts have been sporadic and that is due to contest prep. I am now 11 days out from my FIGURE debut at the Musclemania Lone Star in Galveston, TX on May 16th. If you want to read up on contest prep and check out photos, go HERE.

 

Posts will resume more normalcy once the competition is wrapped and my new goals settle in for the long haul. Since this is the final post pre-contest, I wanted to use it to address a few things and let you in on some of my upcoming news.

GYM RULES (watch out for these things if you want to reach your goals):

I’m going to be overly blunt here, but I’m tired of everybody wandering around totally lost….so here we go.

  1. KNOW YOUR GOALS!!!!! If you do not have specific you-centered goals written down then you are flying blind…..and everybody knows it.
  2. Be careful what “advice” you take. Over the past 6 months I have heard more bad advice escape the mouths of gym goers than I could read off the internet in a lifetime. I hear it on the gym floor, in the locker room and ALWAYS in the sauna. My personal favorite is the group exercise instructor who told a group of older ladies they should ALWAYS do their cardio fasted…..because obviously group X instructors have a PhD in exercise and nutrition science and just teach for the heck of it (I can say that, I was one). Do you realize that training fasted has never been scientifically proven for greater fat loss? More so, do you think a spin instructor knows that if there is a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure (which is rampant) training fasted can actually be a terrible thing? Food for thought…..by picky about whose advice you take. It doesn’t matter if you think they look fitter than you. Do they have more education then Google University?
  3. Don’t camp out on the machinery. Those fancy machines were designed for a purpose: bodybuilders who could no longer utilize heavier loads without risking injury. The machines stabilize you and make it possible to lift heavier and tear down more muscle fibers to produce muscular gains. Get it right with free weight and body weight FIRST, then move on.
  4. Don’t just sit there. Many people think they are taking an appropriate rest between sets, but 2 minutes is far too long. If you need more than 90 seconds of rest, lighten your load a bit.
  5. Mind your mouth…or at least what you put in it. Post workout nutrition is key to a sleek physique. Your muscles need energy or they can’t recover and perform.

Whew! Those are really my top 5 tips for YOU to get where you want to be. It’s not always about the size, scale or mirror…..it’s about goals.

Strong Camp 04 Photo by Paul Buceta @Strongcamp

What’s new?

LOADS of new things are coming and I am experiencing a refresher this Summer. Out with the old and in with the new :) I dig change….in fact, I crave it. Due to that, we are doing a total overhaul. Here are a few things you can expect:

  • Weekly real-time training videos. These will be termed Tabata Tuesday and will cover awesome workouts in minimal time with minimal equipment. You can do these workouts ANYWHERE, even on vacation (I’m even shooting some on vacation).
  • Nutrition programs. You requested it and I am hard at work on beginner, intermediate and advanced nutrition programs you will be able to download based on current goals.
  • Goal setting webinars. You know I’m a stickler for goals and I’m setting up FREE webinars so people can get a handle on how to set goals so they can actually reach them.
  • Monthly recipes in the newsletter.
  • Form videos on some of the most popular strength training moves.
  • A whole lot more including hang outs, Q & A’s, guest trainers, success stories, pretty pictures, and maybe even some fit getaways.

So stick with me as I finish this goal and head on to the next!

In health and fitness,

Michelle

Out with the Old: 5 Steps to Totally ROCK 2015

Another year has slipped by and while some are nursing hangovers (either from alcohol or rich foods) others are getting ready to tackle this year with the vengeance of a Spartan.

Before you dive head first, check out these steps to Totally ROCKING this coming year….and keeping your sanity :)

  1. Use one word. Instead of writing down every goal you want to accomplish, and transferring the ones that weren’t accomplished last year, try setting the tone of your year with ONE word. Believe it or not, 12 months can hold many life events and a whole lot of change. So, instead of writing goals in January that you’ll forget by March, try setting your year up with a word. This word should encompass what you wish to see in your year throughout all facets of your life (work, relationships, creativity, etc.). You can choose any word that really MEANS something to you and then place it on display where you will see it each morning. Here are some examples, but please use what’s in your heart: SUCCESS, LOVE, FORGIVENESS, PRESENCE, ORGANIZATION, KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, KINDNESS, CONSISTENT, CREATIVE, BOLD, DARING, ADVENTUROUS….you get the picture. Be creative in your own way and let this word speak to you. NOW, about those goals…..
  2. Instead of 1 list of goals once a year, it is far better to set aside some time to write out MONTHLY goals. I know it seems a bit time consuming at first, but writing your goals for each month will enable you to reach far more goals by the end of the year. This gives you a timeline to accomplish your goals and sets you up for success. No more than 10 goals per month you over achievers! Keep it simple, but dream big. Each month, mark off what you have accomplished, then mark off what no longer matters to you, then you can add what is pulling towards your word for the year.
  3. Prioritize. This is a skill that anybody can learn, but few of us want to slow down long enough to do it. Do you ever feel like you are fighting against your true nature? Well, that is a sure-fire sign that your priorities aren’t in line. Take a few minutes to write down EVERYTHING you do (OK, for some this may take more than a few minutes), then start to check off what is either not necessary (like scrolling Facebook all day) or simply doesn’t feed you in any way. Take what is left and begin to prioritize by importance. For me, my top priority is to spend quiet time each morning setting myself up for a positive day. Next is my husband, then my kids. Time with them (together and separately) is highly important, so I make that a priority and no job or client can get into that time. Prioritize by what feeds your soul and you will find that life falls into place more easily.
  4. Have some FUN. I know all this talk about lists and priorities can drag some of us into school mode, so stay with me. Do you remember when you were a kid and you did things just for fun? I mean, I know I did some STUPID things that were just plain fun! Don’t lose that ability as you grow older. Walk barefoot in the grass, sing on the swing set (granted you haven’t gotten old and swing sets now make you sick), go to the zoo, eat the cotton candy (just not all the time), bake cookies, play with your dog, look like an idiot at Disney World! Make time to let go of how you think you should present yourself all the time and make a little time for FUN. This act will keep you balanced and keep stress at bay.
  5. Give back. One of the MOST rewarding aspects of life is giving to others. Choose to make 2015 your year of giving. You can redo your household budget to give more to your local church, charities or missions. You can donate your time to those in need of your talent. Think you don’t have a talent? There are many children who LOVE to read to and have nobody able to do it. Everybody has something to give. Take a treat or meal to your neighbor, give your kids friends a ride, offer to walk somebody’s dog, help your elderly neighbor with grocery shopping. There are ENDLESS ways to give, so tap into your resources and get giving! You will never be the same once you start :) And should you ever want to travel with me, just let me know and I’ll be happy to place you on my team.

There you have it, 5 simple steps that will change this year into a year like no other. Time stops for no man, but we can learn to use the time we have wisely.

Rock on,

Michelle

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