About Me

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Creating my ideal figure, one workout and one meal at a time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Progress Pics: 11 weeks out

Today marks 11 weeks out, and I finally feel like I'm making steady, significant progress.  I actually feel as though I'll not only be ready in time, but will actually be able to bring a better package to the stage this year. 

For the select few of you who've been reading my blog since January, you may recall that I had attempted a contest prep this past winter and had posted comparison pictures of myself at 11 weeks then as well.

Below are three sets of pictures (I can't add captions without screwing up the format, so this'll have to do).  All three were taken at 11 weeks out; the first was taken today (08/15/11, 124lbs), the second was this winter (03/01/11, 125lbs), and the third was last year (08/16/10, 119lbs).  


It's so interesting to see the changes in my body through each contest prep.  For example, I am roughly the same weight today as I was in March, yet my composition is so obviously different.  I was technically leaner by this point last year (or at least, weighed less), but my conditioning is better this time around, and I've clearly put on a few good pounds of muscle.  There are a few things I think this can be attributed to:

1) After the show in October I made a big effort to gain some muscle mass.  I lifted heavy and ate a lot (ok, maybe ate a bit too much.  Who knew gaining the weight back would be so easy?!).  And while yes, I did put on too much fat, I know I made some good muscular gains as well, especially in my quads.  

2) The workouts Jay has me doing are much more intense than the ones I was doing last year and winter; I'm lifting heavier and incorporating more shock techniques (supersets, drop sets, rest-pause, negatives, etc.).  I'm doing more than double the cardio this time around, and of course the concern is always that doing too much will result in muscle loss.  But that doesn't seem to be a problem.

3) All of the supplements!  I didn't take things like Creatine or BCAA's last year and I'm beginning to believe that those money suckers really do work.....

So all-in-all, I'm not sure if it's because I've put on more muscle, or because I'm holding on to muscle better, but I'm feeling much more solid this time.  The other day I was doing something and randomly ran my hand along my tricep -  it wasn't even flexed and it felt super hard!  I was so excited I made Tanya touch it too haha.  I can already tell that my legs are going to look better, which just makes me smile :D

On another note, I'm going to Hawaii and BC for almost two weeks starting this Saturday with my mom and sisters :)  I know it's going to be challenging to get all of my workouts in (particularly the cardio), so I'm going to really kick things into high gear this week in anticipation of that.  Plus, an extra pound of fat loss would be nice for the beach ;)  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thankful For the Support

I've been reading some other competitors' blogs recently, and it seems that a great majority - especially of first-time competitors - face some very harsh criticisms, doubts, and general bad attitudes towards what they are doing.  People tell them it's vain to do this, or they'll never succeed because of so-and-so (breasts too small, weigh too much, too short, etc.), or that it's a waste of time.

Now admittedly, many of my friends and family were surprised when I first told them I was interested in entering fitness competitions.  Some were concerned that I had ambitions of getting big and ripped like professional female bodybuilders.  Some had concerns about the diet being so restrictive.  And some were worried that I was taking on too much.

But all asked questions, and kept an open mind.  And after answering their questions and addressing their concerns, I'm happy to say that every single person in my life has supported me through this journey.

Nobody has ever told me I can't do it..... nobody would ever dare ;)

Maybe it's because I've always surrounded myself with people with "Can Do" attitudes; complainers, blamers, nay-sayers, doubters, lazy-butts, and pessimists have no space in my life.  I'd rather be around those who are ever changing, always looking for the next challenge, aspiring, goal-setting, overcoming, and broadening their interests.  Not everybody wants to be a rockstar, but they all have a drive to always improve something in their lives - to never be stagnant.

Maybe it's because they know there's no changing my mind.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  They see how much I want this and how much I love it, and while they maybe don't understand or share in my figure pro ambitions, they do respect my personal space enough not to rain on my parade.

Either way, I am thankful.  I'm thankful that my family understands that while we're on vacation, I need to make time to work out.  I'm thankful that my friends do whatever they can to accommodate my diet when we visit.  I'm thankful that my boyfriend doesn't laugh when I practice my poses in our bathroom mirror.  And I'm thankful for all of the positive messages, comments, emails, and words of encouragement that I've received through this blog.  Even without all that, I would and could do this all on my own.  But my goodness, how much easier and more pleasant this process is when you have a great support!

To all you competitors out there who either don't have the luxury of a support system, or who face those ugly criticisms from people who cannot and will not ever understand our life, our dreams, and our passion..... screw the nay-sayers!  Know that there's a whole world of people out there who DO understand and who DO support you, and we think you're doing GREAT!!

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson  

"A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." 
-Walter Bagehot

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tess and Tanya Date Day Extraordinaire

Today my oldest and bestest friend came over for a full day of fun :D  Tanya and I love doing lots of the same things - cooking, eating, walking, shopping, dancing, laughing, eating, getting dolled up, watching tv, doing yoga, eating..... and when you pack all of those activities into the same day, well, that's what we call a "Tess and Tanya Date Day Extraordinaire"!

She arrived early this morning (after I'd done my A.M. cardio, of course) and we headed right off to Forrest Yoga.
Off I go!
 We then headed to the mall and the market to do some shopping for necessities:


What do you think?  This lipstick is called Lady Danger by MAC.
 .... and food!  Thankfully I live just steps away from the Ottawa Byward Market.  The vendors are out all year, changing their products seasonally.  Both Tanya and I love to poke around and see what's out, and we're never disappointed.
The Ottawa Byward Market
Beautiful sight
We picked up some fish for dinner....

.... and stopped in at the bakery too.  Don't worry, I didn't indulge.  But do you see what I had to contend with??  

After we got back it was time for Cardio Round 2 for me, so out I went, and I dragged my dog, Zuhri, with me.
Don't be fooled by his innocent puppy eyes.  This dog comes up to my waist, weighs 100lbs (of pure muscle), and has the stamina of a horse.  He kept up juuuuuuust fine.

Zuhri, post-run.  What a wuss.

 At this point I desperately needed a little rest, so we did our nails and sipped tea :D

 Not long after though we were right back at 'er, cooking dinner for the boys (her hubby Dave, and John).

Oh, look who's up and begging.  Always hungry, that one. Takes after mamma!

Even company eats healthy at Chez Tess!  Straight from the pages of Clean Eating Magazine: Tilapia on a bed of greens with blueberries, garlic, and dill.  We served this up with some sweet potato fries.  I skipped the blueberries and fries, but it was still delicious!  See, simple is beautiful, not boring!

After dinner we wound down with a game of Phase 10, and some home-made Chocolate Banana Bread.  Again, from the pages of Clean Eating magazine.  

This luscious cake was made with applesauce, ground flaxseed, gluten-free flour, honey (no refined sugar), and egg whites.  If you wanted a completely refined-sugar free version, you could use carob chips instead of chocolate chips, or omit altogether.  I'm told it was very moist, and was apparently delicious since this is all that remains!!

And that's the kind of day it's been.  Miss you already hun xoxo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

These blue and yellow purple pills

I am a walking pharmacy.

Seriously, what do you need - vitamins?  Energy boosters?  Sleeping aids?  Allergy pills?  Hormone therapy?

My one-stop-supplement-shop.  This is also my motivational wall.  Trophies, bikini, and pics (with notes and scribbles on areas of improvement) from last comp. 

The breakfast club
Sometimes I feel as though I could make an entire meal out of all my pills and supplements!

Now, I shouldn't complain because each and every supplement has a purpose and a place in my program.  Vitamins keep me healthy; BCAA's help my body recover after workouts;  Melatonin gives me the most lovely sleeps; and Metamucil keeps me regular!

But honestly, I can hardly wait for the day where all of my vitamins, minerals, and anything else my body needs comes from traditional, plain old, whole, natural (maybe organic), delicious FOOD!

Pain in the a**

..... literally!!

Well, I've come to the end of my butt-kicking two week program.  I knew within the first 2 exercises on the first day that it was going to be a rough couple of weeks.  I've experienced stiffness, soreness, tightness, fatigue, discomfort, and any other pain-related synonym in my legs and gluteus, but in a sick way, I've been loving it.  As much as I complain about being sore and stiff, I would rather feel that than nothing at all, because then I know that I've worked hard and results are just around the corner.  Mind you, if you were to ask me how I was feeling halfway through one of these workouts, I would probably give you a glare, flare of the nostrils, and walk away murmuring curses.

Here's what I've been doing to my legs the past two weeks:

Day 1
-Weighted Hip Thrusts (to fatigue)
-Forward Falls (to fatigue)
-Single Leg Press (20 reps per leg)
-Cable Kickback (20 reps per leg)

Day 2
-Squats (15 reps)
-Hamstring Curls (20 reps)
-Lunges (20 reps per leg)
-Weighted Hip Thrusts (to fatigue)
-Cable Kickbacks (20 reps per leg)

After both days are done, take a rest day (my "rest days" generally involve lots of walking and Hot Yoga), then start cycle anew.

**Sidenote: The only problem with these workout-related posts is that I don't have many pictures to show you!  I can't very well bring a camera into the gym with me, and even if I did it wouldn't be a pretty sight!  So I've attached links to videos wherever possible**

Weighted Hip Thrusts

Forward Falls
I'd never done these before so went ahead and Googled them.  Don't be fooled - they're much much much harder than they look.  Especially after doing hip thrusts!  Follow the link for an informative video http://freefitnessvideos.com/exercise_detail.php?exerciseID=118

Single Leg Press
I did this on the Incline Leg Press machine

Cable Kickback
Can also be done kneeling (with non-working leg) on a bench placed in front of the machine. 

So the end of this workout phase comes with both open arms and sore legs.  Though something tells me we're not done abusing them quite yet ;)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Progress pics: 12 weeks out

Ok, 12 weeks out.  Now the fun really begins!  I'm still only seeing slight changes in my body week-to-week, but I'm getting more comments/compliments from people (at the gym mostly) than usual, so I take that to mean I'm progressing.  

August 8th, 12 weeks out, 125 lbs.

Booya, look at that smooth booty! 

I have to admit that losing weight is kind of bittersweet.  On the one hand, I love being leaner and more cut, having all my clothes fit again, and like seeing that cellulite slowly melt away. On the other hand, I hate losing some of my "curves".  I really do love my booty when it's a bit bigger.  And it's totally unfair that I lose weight in my chest too.  I mean come on, I'm already a AA for cryin' out loud!  How is it possible to get even smaller than that??  Well, I'm not sure how it happens, but it does.  So that sucks too.

Random story: I had the worst dream last night that I was two weeks away from the competition and still hadn't organized my posing suits!  I was happy to wake up and realize I in fact still have 12 weeks, but it did make me think that I should probably get on that ASAP.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wanted: New Music!

I've mentioned before that a good playlist is KEY to getting me through a workout.  The last couple weeks I've been getting pretty bored of my music, and even when I add any new songs, the excitement wears off quickly as I listen to them repeatedly just for a change in musical scenery.  Yup, 4 hours of daily exercise will do that!

If anybody out there has any recommendations for good music I could add, both my workouts and my sanity would be thankful!!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share some of my "Power Songs" - the ones that get me revved up, no fail, every single time.  Heck, maybe you'll find something to help spice up your own collection :)  Yes, I'm a pretty mainstream kind of gal, so for all you hipster/alternative people.... don't judge!

Avril Lavigne - Smile, What the Hell
Britney Spears - Til the World Ends (current #1)
Chris Brown - Yeah 3x
Katy Perry - Firework, E.T.
Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You
Linkin Park - Breaking the Habit (all-time favourite!), Catalyst, Bleed It Out, Waiting For the End, Blackout, In Pieces
Lady Gaga - Highway Unicorn, Edge of Glory
The Saturdays - One Shot, Wordshaker, Work
Cobra Starship - You Make Me Feel
My Chemical Romance - Sing, Black Parade, The Sharpest Lives
Kelly Rowland - Commander
Usher - More
Rage Against the Machine - Killing In the Name, Testify
Korn - Get Up
Nightwish - Bye Bye Beautiful, Master Passion Greed, Amaranth, 7 Days To the Wolves
Nicki Minaj - Super Bass

Of course, there's a whole other playlist to help me unwind after I've gotten myself pumped up.  But that's for another day and another post ;)