About Me

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

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Blog Alert!

Exciting things are happening....

I first got into blogging because one of my best friends, Jess, had a blog of her own and I absolutely loved reading about her daily adventures in vegetarian cooking.  I've always loved writing, and thought to myself  "I can do that too!", so I did.

Jess and I are very alike and very different at the same time.  We are both athletes, we both love to cook, we value our health, love the outdoors,  and we both love each other :)  But our training and diets couldn't be any more different.  She's a runner, I'm a weight-lifter.  She's a vegetarian, and I eat meat 6x per day.  She's a workaholic, I'm unemployed..... you get the idea.  Jess' blog focusses mainly on vegetarian cooking with the odd post about her running and yoga endeavors; she has a sharp tongue and a quick wit, and has a real talent for blending creativity with practicality in the kitchen.

We've been batting around the concept of joining our blogs for quite some time now.  We thought it would be really interesting to have two people with similar values but different approaches weighing in on diets, recipes, and workouts.

Well, I'm happy to announce that our brain child has finally materialized - yes, we're creating a new blog!   I present to you: "Tess and Jess: Food, Fitness, and Friendship"

For the next little while I'll be posting almost exclusively on this new blog.  Not to worry, I will still be updating on my progress towards my next fitness competition!  This is simply a change of location.  I'm also hoping to broaden my writing topics to include more recipes, discussion of health-related articles and issues, and some fun anecdotes about my friendship with Jess, and how we keep each other grounded.   Think of all the extra reading material you're going to have!  And I just know you're going to love Jess as much as I do :)

I hope you'll come to this new site and follow along with me on yet another new adventure!  See ya there!


Post-Show Blues

Am I right, ladies?

I think every competitor I know has complained about this issue, and that's because the post-show blues are REAL and they SUCK!  Even though you may still be healthy and look great in the weeks following your show, it's still hard to look at yourself 5, 10, or even 15 lbs heavier and have the same confidence you did just a short time ago.

Last year I went a little bit nuts after the show, taking almost a full month off from the gym and not restricting anything I ate whatsoever.  With my dad passing, the celebration of my 1 year anniversary with John, and my birthday all packed into one month, it was tough to stay on-track.  Not only that, but I actually had no desire at all to go back to anything even remotely resembling the strict diet and workout plan I'd been on all summer.  As a result, I gained 20lbs in 3 weeks after the show, then another 15 in the months following.  YIKES!  Lesson learned: in weight loss, the best treatment is prevention.

This time I'm trying to be a bit better.  I was back in the gym Monday, doing an hour of cardio and weights, and have managed to get in 5 workouts this week  :D  Diet has been.... ok.  I'm eating clean for most meals, but I have been having at least 1 treat per day (wine, ribs, pasta, sushi, candy corn....) and am already up 11lbs from my contest weight.  (Side rant: why is it so much easier to gain weight than to lose it?  It makes no sense!)

I'm ok being at this weight for now (126lbs), but I know that I have to cap it off here.  Every time I gained weight last year I would tell myself "oh, it's only 1 pound" until all of a sudden it was 35lbs :S  I know what I need to do: I'm confident that I'm doing enough cardio, so it all comes down to diet.  I need to cut the cheats down to once or twice a week (special occasions only), and get rid of any little "extras" I've been adding to my meals (it's been raisins, honey, and peanut butter on everything lately! lol).

I've also got a photo shoot booked for the week of November 18th, so that should give me some extra motivation to clean up my diet.  I'm setting a goal for myself to be back down to 123lbs by then.... TOTALLY DO-ABLE!  After that, I'd like to be around 117lbs by January 1st.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Show Recap and Update

Ok ok, I know it's been long enough!  More pictures of the show below.

It was the weirdest thing - right before I went on-stage for the Open Fitness Model posing round, my coach gave me half of a dextrose tab to eat (gets glycogen to the muscles FAST and pumps them up).  But minutes after I got out there, my face started twitching :S  Not only that, but when I look back at pictures from that round I notice that my usually beautifully defined abs are basically GONE!  I asked him if I could skip the dextrose for the Figure round (I was sure it was the cause of the face twitching), and not surprisingly my abs came out better for it (and no facial twitching).  I'm sure the dextrose works for many many people, just not me. Lesson learned.

Morning of the show, before my last coat of tan, breakfast, and obviously hair/makeup!

Where did my abs go?  (Open Fitness Model Short)
Booya!  Look at that lava spewing across my butt!  SO HOT!  Loved that detail.

Oh, there they are!  (Open Figure Short)

Left to right: 3rd place, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 5th

Team Pro Revolution

And here is a link to a video clip of all the show's highlights.  You can spot me briefly around the 4 minute mark ;)

I've decided not to do the second show this weekend.  After mulling it over a bit, I decided I didn't want to go into a show with the mind-set that I might lose.  I would rather go in thinking I'm going to win and be disappointed, than go in expecting to do poorly.  I wasn't lean enough, and it wasn't something I could fix in a week.  I would rather save my money, time, and energy (not to mention the money, time and energy of my family/friends who would've come to see me) and instead use this week for improving my physique so I can win next time!

I've also decided to go back to my previous nutritionist, Dave Ruel.  It was amazing to work with such a knowledgeable and multi-talented person as Jay, and I'm so happy I got to experience the process through that methodology.  I would highly recommend anybody considering doing a show and living in the Ottawa/Toronto/Barrie area to contact him!  But it's also no secret that Dave is a very good friend of mine, and in the end I just found that his approach to dieting meshed better with mine.  So I'm excited to work with him again, and see what we can do with my body this time around :D

Monday, October 31, 2011


Why is it that moms always know exactly the right thing to say?  My mom is particularly talented at this; it would seem that raising 6 kids, teaching special needs students, and teaching piano have given her a lot of experience in giving pep talks over the years!

When I called my mom yesterday to tell her my results, she shared with me a poem by one of her favorite authors.  The poem, as I interpret it, is about striving to be the best that you can be, while maintaining your humility.  It's about facing the constant cycle of building, tearing down, then rebuilding of one's character, and doing so with courage and virtue.  As my mom pointed out, the line about meeting with Triumph and Disaster are particularly relevant for competitive athletes ;)  I thought it was a really inspiring poem, so I thought I would share it.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

(by Rudyard Kipling)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


*Sigh*  Well, there's always next time, right?

In my Fitness Model class I didn't even crack top 5, and in Figure I placed 4th (out of 5 lol).  I stuck around afterwards to get feedback from the judges, and I knew before he even said the words: "you just weren't lean enough".

I knew this would be a problem for Figure, and didn't have many hopes of winning that category - especially competing in the Open division.  I was, however, a bit surprised and disappointed that I didn't do better in the Fitness Model.  The top 3 (back row) were the leanest on-stage, so that made sense to me, but of the remaining girls (front row), I thought I held up well against at least a few of them.  One third of our mark is based on presentation, so maybe that was it?

I promise to post more pictures in the coming days.  Just wanted to get a couple up right away.

Ok, so a more thorough breakdown now.

Things I was happy with:
-My tan!  Wow, I was so so so much happier with my tan this year.  No stressing about it backstage, it didn't rub off, and it was nice and smooth and even.
-My hair.  Love the colour, love the style.  
-My suits.  There are a couple things I'd change (the brown of the figure suit didn't show as well as it could have, and the top of my volcano suit could have done more for my ladies!)  But overall, I still love them.  They're my babies :)
-The process on the day of.  I felt prepared, I was all packed, I had practiced my routines and posing, I wasn't starving all day, and my time management was decent.
-The food!  No, not the after party lol.  I feel like I ate enough food so that I was able to keep my energy up, but not so much that I was too "full". 

Things I wasn't happy with:
-My makeup.  When the girl was here to do it, I asked her to match the colour of my tan, and she did.  But, it looked like crap.  It was blotchy and muddy looking (the face you see in these pictures is me with no foundation on at all.  I rubbed it all off backstage.  Believe me, my naked skin looked better than what was going on there before!).  The eyes and lips looked nice, but in the end were a bit too severe for the show. And the darn fake eyelashes she put on me were poking me all night!  
-My posing.  I think I could have done a better job of my front pose (especially for Fitness.... I looked too tense next to the other girls).  My face also started spasming at one point, for no apparent reason lol.  Maybe I need to practice holding my smile more?
-My placement.  Obviously ;)

So, this leaves me with the question of whether or not I should still compete next weekend.  This is a bigger, more serious show, and all the big kids will be out to play... and win.  Knowing that there's only so much I can do to lean out more this week, do I still go through the process (and pay all the money!), knowing that I'll almost certainly place last in Figure, and probably won't do so well in Fitness either?  I'm hopeful that if I make a couple changes to my "look" and presentation, I may do better in Fitness, but who knows.  It's something I'll have to discuss with my coach this week.  And my mom.  I know she really wanted to see me compete, and I really don't want to let her down.  Then again, if she wait for the next one then maybe I can show her a trophy too!

All in all, still a valuable experience.  I've learned so much more about my body and diet/training, my posing is that much better, I'm confident in my tanning now, and I have a better idea of what works for makeup and suit selection.  And if nothing else, this has lit a fire under my butt to work that much harder for the next show!  I never want to experience that feeling of defeat and failure again.  Never.  So I've just got to hold on to that feeling and run with it.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Show Day - In Memoriam

Last year at this time, my dad was in the hospital and we weren't sure how long he had left to live.  I was struggling with the question of whether I should do the show, or go home to be with him in his final moments.  In the end, I decided to finish what I'd started, because (anyone who knew my dad knows this) he hated when people fussed over him, and would have been FURIOUS if I'd given up on something I'd worked so hard on for his sake.  He sacrificed a lot for me and my sisters, and I know that's the way he preferred it.

That whole day I was a mixed bag of emotions - on the one hand, I was happy and excited to compete.  On the other hand, I was scared and nervous that I would miss seeing my dad one last time.  I remember thinking that the day could not be finished soon enough so that I could get into the car and drive to see him.  The stage, the posing, the placements... all of it became something I just needed to get out of the way - an obstacle in my race against time.  But you know, it was a useful lesson and the experience helped me to put things into perspective.  In the end, this was a show that I did for fun; this was not life or death, and there really are so many more important things in life than how hard you're flexing your legs on-stage, or whether your tan smudged a bit on the back.  Maybe not coincidentally, that thought process was very helpful in relaxing my stage nerves.

I mentioned before that I had a really powerful experience this summer while watching the sun rise over a volcano during my trip to Hawaii.  I had deliberated what my true purpose in this life is, and while the sun filled me with a sense of greatness and hope, the mountain reminded me that whatever issues I was facing at the time were small and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  It emphasized that this competition is not the be-all end-all of my life or career - it's a tool, and one of the many stepping stones I will walk along my path to becoming a more complete person.    

I watched the sun rise again this morning and reflected on everything that's happened this last year.  I pondered my journey to this point and how far I've come since my last show.  I thought about how far I have to go still to achieve everything I want.  

And of course, I remembered my dad.  It's no coincidence that my second show has come exactly one year after the first - a year after his death.  I love you, and I miss you every day that the sun rises.  This one has been for you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

1 Day = Tomorrow!!

Holy crap, it's Friday.  How did that happen??

Today was the first time in quite a while that I woke up and didn't have to do any CARDIO!!!!  Woot woot!  Already I'm off to a good start ;)

I've been gradually waking up earlier and earlier this week so that I'm able to go to bed early tonight, get my full 9 hours of sleep, and get up early tomorrow fresh and rested.

I don't see too much change in my body since yesterday.  In fact, I may even look a bit softer?  Could it be the carbs, increase in calories, or lack of cardio?  Maybe it's just me.  One thing's for sure though - I am DARKER!

This morning I took my last shower (because the tanning agent comes off so easily with water, you don't shower at all the last day or so in order to preserve all the colour), and will be applying another 2-3 coats today.  Possibly one more tomorrow if I'm still not dark enough.  I'd ordered my Pro-Tan weeks ago, before I'd decided to do a second show, so hopefully I'll have enough to last me for both :S

Today's focus will be POSING.  I'll spend a few hours throughout the day practicing my quarter turns, stage presence, and endurance.  Aside from that, I'll clean the house, pick up some groceries, apply more tan, and take care of odds 'n ends like doing my nails and plucking my eyebrows lol.

I know there are a few other fitness bloggers out there who will be competing tomorrow as well:
Melissa at http://melissacunninghamifpapro.blogspot.com
and Tenicia at http://boobsbarbellsandbroccoli.blogspot.com

To those competitors and any others, I just want to wish you GOOD LUCK!!!!  We're going to be tired, and sticky, not to mention THIRSTY tomorrow, but it's all going to be worth it when we hear the crowd cheering for us for doing something that most people don't even dare dream of.  Congratulations in advance :)