Monday, September 1, 2014

2 Week Post Comp Update

It's been a little over 2 weeks since I stepped on stage after 16 weeks of competition prep.

Comp prep took will power, consistency and more mental strength than I even knew I had. Now, after the bright lights and "glamor" of getting on stage has gone, I am back in the real world with ALL of the same challenges - food prep, macros, workouts, goals. The only difference now is that I'm back to my white self and have a pretty lady looking down on me as I type this from her shelf.

Competition prep was honestly a mental mind f*ck. I had to continuously push myself through situations (family parties, events, etc.) and workouts that I wasn't even sure I could make it though. Post show, I feel like it is an even BIGGER mind f*ck. Prep was brilliant in the fact that you get to see your body change every single day. You continuously get leaner and see parts of your body and muscles you didn't even think you had. Post show, you can easily get sucked into the idea that you are just "getting fat". WHICH could or could not be true depending on how you rebound from your show.

I weighed and measured in for my show with a 28.75 inch waist and at 128 lbs. I currently sit at 129.6 lbs with a 29 inch waist. Has this always been the case these past two weeks? HELL NO. Post show I ate my fair share of treats from ribs, popcorn, and rice crispy treats to chips, ice cream etc. This caused my body to go up to 137lbs and a little over 30 inch waist. Since then, I really WORKED HARD to reel my diet back in quickly and get back to the foods my body was accustomed to while working in some old favorites (like more dairy). I quickly got back in the gym the day after my show and kept myself in check. I have given myself more freedom in the foods I eat and have a few "extras" here and there. Key concepts in maintaining a healthy weight and mindset though - I always show up for my workouts and I always try to be mindful of my cheats. You can cheat without going HAM. Trust me lol - it still feels rewarding BUT you miss out on that bloat and self loathing that can tend to come post cheat!


Most of my cravings have gone, but I still continuously want froyo and BBQ lol. I am going to have a cheat meal once a week for now; but try to keep it more like a steak and potato sort of thing rather than pizza and beer. This will help my body not to crave just all around shitty foods.

Some of the awesome things that have happened in the past two weeks include: my face has gotten fuller again (it became a little too gaunt looking for my preference towards the end of prep), my muscles are slightly fuller since I am eating more, I don't wake up 5 times a night to pee (only 1-2 times now), and I just feel stronger in the gym (PR'd deadlifts today at 190lbs WOO!).

While I do miss my more defined abs and legs, it is pretty fun not being tied to the gym for over an hour on end. Cardio is no longer my life and I only do enough to reverse diet (gain weight back) in a healthy manner. Gaining back the weight will be hard for me mentally - I knew this going into prep. However, I am ready for it. I am ready to lift heavier and make gains in the gym while enjoying date nights with my husband. I am ready to be "normal" for awhile and be able to enjoy going to parties and possibly having some tacos and a beer. I am ready to just be all around more free and easy while living.

Overall, life is all about moderation and really just being super f*cking happy. At the moment, the goal is to compete again within the next year after I have developed more muscle mass. Wether that will stay the goal, only time will tell. I feel so accomplished making it to the stage like I had set out to. I know I want to have kids in the next few years so that might take precedence - along with growing my business. If I don't have a six pack year round, I will be ok with that. This is my lifestyle, not a six pack or overly defined muscles, but rather a life of health and happiness. I think that is a fair trade off - I will take being happy with my family over a six pack any day. =)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

PUMA Fitness Campaign

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA Fitness.


Loved the back of this shirt!
PUMA has always been a brand that reflected sportsmanship, health and fitness in my mind. When I was given the opportunity to review some of their newest gear, I was so excited! I received 2 outfits from PUMA - one for performance in the gym and one for comfortable and stylish wear outside of the gym. Since I am typically rocking my gym clothes 24 hours a day, this was perfect for me!

Like a kid on Christmas, I quickly ran up to my room and changed for a quick workout in my garage. I threw on my gym tank, tights, and Mobium XT shoes.

Instantly, I fell in LOVE with the tights. They have a neat drawstring inside the pants that allows me to tighten them up. I often have a problem with the waist being a tad too big for my meathead thighs lol - so this feature really worked well for me. I also like that they hit right below the knee. A major winning point is that you can't see through any part of the pant when I squat, lunge, etc.

I really wanted to test out the sweat wicking capabilities of this whole outfit so I decided to complete a HIIT session on the upright bike as well as a run outside. My outfit stayed in place and the fabric was amazing! I didn't slide all over the bike seat like in some pants and the shirt actually stayed down when I ran too! Overall, I feel stylish for my workouts while also having clothing that performs well.

When it comes to shoes, I am pretty particular on what I like. When I put on the PUMA Mobium XT shoes, I felt like I was walking on clouds. They are a little higher sitting then I am used to, but I didn't mind. The bottom of the shoes almost felt like they could bend completely in half for better performance. This allowed my foot to move freely with support.

And who doesn't LOVE the fact that everything MATCHES PERFECTLY!

When you can be stylish AND perform well, that is the best situation! I would highly recommend all three pieces of this outfit for anyone who loves to workout. Try ditching those old t-shirts and baggy pants for this stylish outfit next time you hit up the gym!





To get this look:

Tank: click here.
Tights: click here.
Shoes: click here.






The second outfit I received was designed to wear outside of the gym, while still being a performance look. I was extremely excited when I saw the adorable shoes and fabulous looking outfit. I liked this outfit more than the performance look because it just had a very easy, comfortable look. Even my pups couldn't help but want to hang out with me!

Duke especially loved the feel of the pants =)

My favorite part of this outfit are the pants! They are AWESOME! I love how you can roll the ankles up for a capri look or keep them longer if it is cold out. Huge pockets fall on each side which I quickly utilized for my car keys, cell phone, cash and debit card. My pants usually don't have pockets in them, so I was pretty excited for this feature!

The shirt is super cool as well. The back cuts down low with a criss cross feature to show off your very cute sports bra and the rest of the shirt is configured in almost a zebra-like pattern. I really think this shirt is fun! The cut of it is oversized and flows well which makes it so comfortable to wear all day long.

My second favorite part of this outfit are the Narita v2 shoes!! They are incredibly light. It almost feels like you aren't wearing shoes at all. This style is more like what I am used to - low to the ground and not bulky at all. I especially love the pattern on the shoes. It gives them a nice look that is different than anything I currently own. I just think they are fun and they seem like they will hold up really well for every day wear.

Overall, this outfit scores HIGH in my book! I will definitely continue to wear this out as well as to the gym.


To get this look:

Shirt: click here.
Pants: click here.
Shoes: click here.


Visit the complete PUMA website: click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Things I Learned From My First Figure Competition

1. There is always more gas left in the tank.

Competition prep can be a HUGE struggle. Waking up, making sure food is prepped and getting your workouts in while trying to still live your every day life can be exhausting. I found myself (quite a few times) thinking that there was absolutely NO way I would be able to do another round of HIIT or make sure to get that last rep in. At times like this, I would tell myself, "someone out there is working harder than you". Almost instantly, I would push myself that much harder to do what seemed impossible in my mind. Other times, I would shut of mentally - usually when doing my HIIT. I used music as a way to get lost in the 35 second interval that left me breathless and, more often than not, on the verge of tears.

My body would try to tell me no, but my mind always came back with YES. When times get tough and something seems impossible - just remember, you always have more gas in the tank,

2. Sacrifices seem much bigger at the time. 

There were numerous times I wanted to go out with friends and eat & drink to my little hearts content. But, as you could imagine, I was quite limited to what I could ingest. When possible, I brought my own prepared food and gallon jug. I brought food to Dodger games, parties, family events, etc. At first, it was a pretty big deal to me. I did not want to stand out and be different. It got easier to bring my own stuff and people usually understood why I was doing it.

It was extremely difficult at times to go out with friends and watch them eat and drink. Even going on dates with my husband became pretty non existent. We could've gone out, sure - but it was really hard to eat my food and watch him eat a burger and drink beer without me. Sometimes, I would think, "man, it would be really nice to just have a random date and go eat or do something fun." But then, I wouldn't have my prepped food with me. This made things pretty hard to be spontaneous. Sometimes, I really missed just being a normal girl.

Looking back on the sacrifices I had to make - not going out as much, staying sober, eating my own food, staying in so I made sure to get enough sleep, and always making time for my longer workouts - it was all worth it. Sure, you miss out on some things, but most the time, it'll all still be there once your competition is over. The drinking, the food, the parties - they come back around. Standing on stage and feeling like a champion - that is usually once in a lifetime. What feels like a big sacrifice at the time really isn't.

3. Confidence is imperative.

I stress "loving your body" a LOT. Becoming a figure competitor, I had to deal with a ton of new (and SCARY!) situations. I had to rock a micro bikini on stage in front of a ton of people, I had to tan nude with a crowd of other women, I got my first Brazilian, and I had to step up my weight game with all the other guys in the gym - just to name a few scenarios.

I loved my body before my competition, but I still had some hang ups with the stretch marks and loose skin at times. Going through competition prep, I really learned to LOVE my body and feel confident no matter what. I am way more comfortable being in a bikini (or even nude) than I was before. I can honestly say, being naked with a group of women doesn't phase me and I don't have any problems with rocking little to no clothing in public. While I loved my body before, I am on a whole new level now! Pushing myself into uncomfortable situations has really helped to improve my own self image and confidence.

Who couldn't use more confidence? Especially if you have to get up on stage with other beautiful women! =)

4. Family is forever. 

My family is great. They have typically always been supportive of me and all of my endeavors. During competition prep - I truly found out how lucky I am. 

Competing is a VERY selfish sport. You have to eat when its time, you have to devote many hours to the gym, you live your life in an "all about you" sort of way for weeks leading up to your show. It can be emotionally draining and you can tend to take that emotion out on your family members. I know I did. I can't tell you just HOW much support I received from my family. From my sisters getting me stage ready to them making a grocery store run at 9:30pm the night before the show to get me olive oil for the day of. Whatever I needed, they provided - and did it with grace the entire time. When I needed a pick me up chat, my family was there. Through the struggles and times when I felt like I couldn't give any more - they encouraged me and kept me sane. And they did all of this while dealing with my prima donna attitude! =)


The day of my show, everyone was there to cheer me on. It meant the world to me. Even three of my very good friends made the trip to cheer me on. And when I got home, my brother in law had set up a banner and balloons to celebrate. He even went to a fit bakery and purchased healthy desserts to binge on post show! This experience really just reminded me how lucky I am to have my family and good friends' support. Without people to hold you up when all you want to do is sink down low - life would be incomplete. To my family and friends that supported me - I will be forever grateful!!

5. Nothing Is Impossible. 

When you want something bad enough - you will work to SMASH that goal no matter what. It takes hard work - DAY IN & DAY OUT. There are no "rest days". Every day is an opportunity to push forward and be one step closer to achieving whatever it is you want.

When the opportunity comes to slack off or you really just want to go in the opposite direction - you have to decide what it is you really want - and in turn, you have to accept the consequences (good or bad) from that decision.

Plain and simple - YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING YOU ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Detour SMART Bar - Product Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar. 

I was given the opportunity to try these awesome Detour SMART Bars as part of a FitFluential campaign. 

Detour SMART Bars are certified gluten free and made with organic whole oats. I, typically, am used to eating bars high in whey protein instead of oat based; however, when I received these and opened the first bar, I knew they were going to be good! They are soft, chewy and glazed with a Greek Yogurt drizzle! Just the way I like them LOL. 

The two bars I received for review were the Apple Cinnamon and the Blueberry. I instantly liked the Apple Cinnamon. They have chunks of delicious apple all throughout the bar and the glaze on top was so good! These bars aren't too sweet like most glazed bars can be. I also really liked the texture. I felt like I was eating a dessert!

The Blueberry bars were also good. I am not a huge fan of blueberry flavoring so it was nice that these bars had a subtle hint of the fruit. The texture was the same on this bar and the glaze was good too, although slightly different. I found these bars to be slightly sweeter as well.

Some of the high points of these bars are that they are only 130 calories EACH. So, you get a big bang for your buck if you need a quick snack for on the go. Also, low calorie dieters can utilize this as a pre workout or post workout with a protein shake.

Some of the high points (from www.detourbar.com):

  • Rich in Branch Chain Amino Acids 
  • 10g High Quality Whey Protein
  • 3g of Fiber
  • 4g Sugar
  • Sweetened with Stevia 
What I really like about these bars is that they are really macro friendly. Each bar averages to about 2-2.5g Fat, 18g Carbs and 10g Protein with 3g Fiber. It is easy to fit these into your day without going over your macros. 

For exact nutritional info, please click here


Some awesome foodie ideas popped into my head when I was eating these.... I'll share a few below =)

  1. Ice Cream Sandwiches: two SMART bars sandwiching some proyo (protein ice cream) or sorbet for a quick and calorie friendly dessert.
  2. Chopped up SMART bars added to nuts and dried fruit for granola to take on the go. 
  3. Grilled SMART bars along side grilled fruit like peaches or pears.

Overall, I would say that I am ALMOST 100% satisfied with these bars.... the only thing I would change is to have MORE =) Which isn't a bad thing right?!?

Make sure to check out Detour SMART Bars and try them out for yourself! 













Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Product Review: SquareBar - Cocoa Crunch

SquareBars: in one word - DELICIOUS. 

They have some awesome flavors - Cocoa Crunch , Cocoa Coconut , Cocoa Almond .

The first bar I tried was the one pictured - cocoa crunch. Let me tell you, this bar is decadent and feels like a full on cheat. The whole bar is covered in a chocolate layer that you can actually taste and bite through! The middle tastes like a fudge/nougat consistency and the bit of crunch is awesome. 

I have yet to try the other flavors because I am still in competition prep so my calories (and fat grams) are a lot lower than usual. Once I am off prep, I will try the others!! I seriously canNOT wait. If they are anything like this bar, I am going to be one HAPPY girl!

But really... the things I will do with these bars once my calories are back up... toppings for waffles... casein .... mug cakes... yogurt .... ahhh the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!


 Pros:

  • USDA Organic, Soy & Gluten Free, and Non GMO Verified
  • Vegan (if that's your thing =) )
  • A relatively low cal snack or side to a meal
  • Easily portable as they are pretty small
  • Satisfying & filled me up!
  • A party in your mouth!

Cons:
  • I want to eat them all now, but they are a tad higher in fat
  • Lower in fiber (only 2g with 22g carbs)

Overall, you need these in your life. I will definitely be adding these to my list of go-to protein bars!

Find SquareBar: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Product Review: EvoMuse Eviscerate Smolder

In the last few weeks of competition prep, my coach has recommended that I use a skin tightening lotion called EvoMuse Eviscerate Smolder. I have always been rather hesitant about any "magic" products that tighten skin or speed up results. For me, hard work in the gym and in the kitchen have always been number one. So, when my coach told me to purchase this product, I was skeptical. Basically, what this lotion does is act as a topical fat burner to help with those pesky problem areas.

Here are my results in one week from using the product 1-2 times a day (after my shower always and sometimes again at night if I remembered lol):



PROS:
1. Obviously, it is working to some extent.
2. It is easy to use.
3. It was delivered fast.
4. No weird smells or staining.
5. Works for abs, thighs, arms etc.
6. I am more confident than ever!

CONS:
1. It is a little pricey if you're on a budget.
2. You have to wash your hands immediately after.
3. There is a slight warming sensation right after use, but nothing crazy. When I do cardio the next day or sit in the sauna, it sometimes burns a bit - but not really bad at all.

Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a way to tighten up their skin if they are already exercising and eating healthy. I would definitely not call this a miracle lotion if you are still overweight, but it does help if you want to tighten up soon problem areas.

Check out this product on amazon!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Plateaus & Moving On

Did you ever face a plateau or stall in your weight loss? How long did it last? How did you move past it? These are three questions I get asked NUMEROUS times a day.


I would think that most people start off their journey thinking it is going to be hard. Little do they know (as I found out myself), it is WAY harder than even imagined. 

Body change (be it weight loss or muscle gain) is really a fun and exhilarating journey - when everything is going right. But, as soon as you hit one wrong turn or snag, it becomes a burden which leads to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Many people like to call these snags "plateaus" - or times in their journey where their weight loss stalls and they just can't seem to move past it. While these moments are great for trainers like myself (lol), it is important to remember that these times WILL NOT LAST. Either you will eventually keep losing or, you will return back to gaining. DON'T BE THAT PERSON! 

Did you ever face a plateau or stall in your weight loss? Yes, OF COURSE! It wouldn't be a journey without the twists and turns right?! 



So, in order of plateau I will answer: How long did it last? How did you move past it?

1. I remember when I hit 217 pounds (17 pounds lost at that point). I stalled there for months!! I actually thought that this was the smallest I was going to get. At this point, I hadn't fully committed yet. I bounced back to about 220 or so pounds before I took a good long look at my current lifestyle and decided I really needed to get serious. I cut out alcohol and upped my workouts to 4-5 times a week. I also decided to cut out the healthier foods that I couldn't eat responsibly - like peanut butter and cheese. Main goal: to get the losing part over as soon as possible so I could enjoy maintenance!!

2. At 205 pounds I hit another plateau. I admit, at this time, I was probably not eating enough. I was hitting my 1,200 calories (sometimes less, but never under 1,000) and working out an hour a day 5-6 times a week. Remember, food is fuel to power you through weight loss - it is NOT THE ENEMY! I increased my calories closer towards reaching my first goal (175 pounds) and attribute most of my stalls to not eating enough. 

3. At 175 pounds, I took a break from weight loss. I hit my first goal of 60 pounds and wanted to make sure I really did want to keep losing from there. I think it can become so easy to get obsessed with the emotions of losing weight. The attention you get from people asking if you are losing weight and telling you how great you look can become so addicting. I wanted to make sure I was going to keep losing for the right reasons - to get healthy and fit not to gain more attention. I stalled here on my own accord for about a month and a half before deciding to press on. 

4. 145 pounds was my last baby plateau. My body has this weight as its natural set point where it sits comfortably. I like to be more around 141 for vanity reasons... to lose the last bit of weight, I had to make sure I was eating more so that my body did not think it was anywhere near starvation mode. Switching from mostly cardio with body weight/resistance work to HIIT and heavy weights did wonders for changing my body composition too! I went from a flabbier 145 to a lean 143 with this discipline. 



Overall, there are some basic questions to ask yourself if you are currently stuck in a plateau:

1. Look into your current diet/exercise - are you really taking it seriously and staying committed?
2. Have you tracked your calorie intake? Are you eating enough?
3. Are you burning more calories during the day than taking in?
4. Every bite counts; do you snack on leftovers or graze throughout the day?
5. Can you go harder in the gym or during your home workouts? 
6. Have you been stuck to doing the same workouts lately? 

I think really what matters most is that you keep pushing forward and never give up. Plateaus make it easy for us to forget how far we have come and how much we have already changed. With each step forward (no matter how small the step may seem at the time) the end goal becomes that much closer! So keep pushing and really take a look into your current diet/exercise plan to see where you can adjust accordingly. Switching up you diet and workouts can be a great way to kickstart weight loss back up.

NEVER GIVE UP!