My Competitive Journey

My competitive journey has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. After competing last night and my goal coming to fruition, I have a lot to say about this sport.

First, I must thank my supportive tribe of individuals. My boyfriend has been with me day in and out, witnessed my struggles and gave me the encouragement when I needed it most. My coach Lucienne has the ability to coach me on the level I needed. I think that is what makes a coach great – to understand your client’s personality and learning style, and then adapt your coaching to them. I must thank my family. My Dad has been my biggest cheerleader no matter what I do. He was there at my figure skating competitions. He was there at my volleyball games. He was there at my graduation. Any large accomplishment I have achieved, he’s been there right by my side lifting me up. I have several supportive friends that I plan on reaching out to individually, but I must say if you’re a friend of mine and are reading this, please know I could not have done this without you.

Now, I’ll get onto talking about show day. I am pleased and honored to announce, I WON Bikini Novice Tall at Mr. And Ms. Natural Minnesota. This is what I set out to do, and I have achieved it. I interviewed my coach on New Year’s Eve in 2018 and told her my intention was to compete in this specific show. Two weeks previous, I also competed in Natural Iowa. This was a great idea of my coach, to compete in more than one show knowing all the time, dedication, and hard work this sport requires. It was perfect that Natural Iowa was two weeks before the competition in Minnesota. I was able to get my “first show” jitters out, and I knew what to expect at my second competition. My head was in a much better place during my second show. Not to say my first show didn’t go well, I am pleased to announce I placed second in Bikini Novice Tall.

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I think the biggest thing most people from the outside looking in miss, is how this sport is much more mental than it is physical. From the outside, you see competitors spending hours in the gym, being diligent with their diet, saying no to donuts in the office, getting a soda water at happy hour, but you don’t see the incredible hard work of training your mind.

It’s easy for an outsider to see the social media posts about training at the gym and think, “Wow, that must be hard”. I’m here to tell you, being in the gym is what kept my sanity during the past 6 months. It was a constant in my life that I knew I could count on. To be honest, I’m already back at the gym right now writing this blog post as I am incline walking. An outsider may perceive this as me being a “fitness freak” but I am happy to wear that title loud and proud. This is what keeps me, me.

Over the past 6 months I have dealt with a lot personally. In March, my incredible Grandfather passed away. A few short days after, I found out one of my Aunt’s dogs that I love dearly, passed away. My mother went back into hospice. I’m currently training a puppy (enough said there). My mother fell and broke her hip. My brother and I had to make a hard decision of surgery or treat the pain as her guardians. I get news that my Aunt’s second dog (they were brothers) also passed away.

The night before my first competition I read an email from my mother’s hospice nurse informing that my mother had a fall in the shower, and had a contusion on her left cheek bone. A week later we get notice she had another fall. (Thankfully, her hospice nurse has ordered a new wheel cheer to accommodate now). Last Thursday my boyfriend’s childhood dog also passed away.

Deep breath. There it is. In sequential order. Now layer dealing with the psychological effects of carbohydrate and calorie depletion of a competition prep. The cherry on top is dealing with naysayers that don’t understand why you’re competing in this type of sport.

Now you may understand why I think being in the gym is the easy part. Here’s a funny full circle moment, I like the sport of golf because it is a humbling, mental game. Maybe this is why I was able to thrive in competitive bodybuilding. Honestly, I think I had a lot of things from my childhood and upbringing works in my favor for this sport. Growing up a competitive figure skater, I was used to competing as an individual. I was the only one on the ice and felt the pressure of all the eyes directly on me. I had the years of training to appear graceful and elegant on the ice. My mind was already being trained for competition at a very early age. My Mom even open enrolled me in a different elementary school that got out of school earlier so I could make to the higher level ice time with my coach. Thinking back, my competitive figure skating years resemble competition bodybuilding prep. I figure skated before school, after school, and my during my “off days” I was still training, off ice. I practiced ballet and dance to work on my presentation.

I have reflected several times “what could have been” if I kept up with figure skating. As I have trained my mind, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and the Universe delivers you exactly what you need, at the right time. Figure skating delivered me incredible skills that I am able to translate not only to other sports, but in my everyday life.

This has been a long reflective post so if you’re still with me and reading this, THANK YOU.

Everyone is now asking me, “What’s next?” “When’s your next competition?” “Are you going to eat (insert a non-nutrient dense food item here)?”

This is what I can say today. Yes, I ate donuts, chocolate, a cookie, a burger and sweet potato fries, and had wine last night. I have yet to decide if I’ll compete again, and I am a 100% okay with that. I do know I will always value health and fitness as it has such a positive mental effect for me.

What’s next? Do you want to know more? Comment below, reach out to me via email, or through social media. I am a personal trainer, and am certified in Fitness Nutrition. I have the capacity of understanding how hard it is to change habits. I am happy to announce I am accepting clients for online and in person, personal training, nutrition coaching, and being an overall health coach. Let me guide you to not only look better, but feel better physically and mentally.

In sincere gratitude,

Annie

Starting Over

My last post I spoke about how I hate the word diet and true changes from quiet consistency.  I think me using the term quiet consistency made me feel like I should take a little time off from writing, but in all honesty, writing is such an outlet for me.  I really meant to write a post last Saturday, because that was a whirlwind of feelings for me.

I had the opportunity to model competition bikinis in a fashion show at a seminar for one of  the body building competitions I will compete in.  I was very excited for this, and I thought the entire day would be great, but to say the truth, it was more of an emotional whirlwind for me.  I learned so much from the seminar, and I felt a little embarrassed.

As I pulled up the figure suit I first tried on, I was so excited and I thought, “YES! Blue is my color!”  As I looked around, I had two huge anxieties revealed themselves.  I was the only model that did not get a spray tan.  I knew the spray tan was a huge part of the actual competition day, but I didn’t think it was necessary for me to model a suit.  Not only did I stick out like a sore thumb with the lack of spray tan, I was also not nearly as lean as some of the other models.  I tried to remind myself I have come so far already, but it was so hard not to compare when we all were backstage getting ready.

Then, another very large insecurity unveiled.  All the other models (except for 1), competed before.  While I was told posing for the show will be very relaxed and not a big deal, the other models knew what to do and posing looked so natural to them.  I had my supportive boyfriend take pictures of me up on stage, and I am too embarrassed to post them because I am insecure of how different I look, and how I felt that day up on stage.  I know it says a lot I had the courage to put on a competition suit 12 weeks out from my first competition, I just have to remind myself how important it was I did that, at that time.

I learned so much, and met a great group of inspiring girls, and it really realigned my mental path of my journey.  I was riding this high wave of all this progress, the multiple inches I have lost, the number of pounds,  how my clothes were fitting, etc.  Honestly, last Saturday kind of felt like a slap in the face reminding me of how much further I have to go.

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All of the models backstage during the fashion show

This is why everything is a journey.  A journey has its ups and downs.  Many people get distracted or sidetracked or feel like a failure when they view someone’s Facebook profile or Instagram account, heck, I felt that way this Saturday.  It is our ability to understand what the Universe is trying to teach you.  The Universe was trying to teach me not to compare myself to others, be grateful for what I have, and accept that I have so much more to learn and grow.

I made one of my first posts titled, “We All Start Somewhere,” and after last Saturday, it felt like it was a rebirth or a new start for me.  Exactly 12 weeks out from my first show, now is the time to buckle down, get my diet on point, get my prep on point, and the thing that needs a lot of work, my posing on point.  I did take one picture in the mirror that I am comfortable sharing, that made me decide I definitely want some sort of shade of blue for a suit. IMG_20190216_140541956

As always, I end with gratitude.  Thank you for reading where I am at in my journey.

 

Annie

Exactly What I Needed

I am so happy I have a job that allows me to take bereavement leave. This past week has been up and down, time of sorrow and time of joy. As I wrote before, my life always has a way of evening itself out.

Thursday night, I attended an event that I was on the brink of bailing. I was making up excuses and reasons as to why I shouldn’t go, and made up my mind to do something else. Just as I was about to leave the house, I get a message from a friend that was leading the fitness event asking if I would like to be on stage. That was the spark I needed to help me make the decision to go to the event.

I honestly cannot put into words how much this event was exactly what I needed. It was Fitbit Local Minneapolis’ event where it was a combination of HIIT training, Dance, and Yoga. I moved my body, endorphins were released, and ending with yoga put me in a place of peace. After the class, I had so many people come up to me and tell me how I crushed the workout and they were impressed. One guy even said, “Way to be a role model up there for the rest of us”. I was honestly shocked when I heard that. I was thinking, “Who, Me?”

This concept brought me full circle, and remembering why I am doing this fitness journey. I got certified as a personal trainer because I want to help people live healthier lives, and not live their life in pain. I want others to realize they can do all the things, just like I can. I’ll leave you with some amazing pictures from the event.

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What Keeps Me, Me.

Life always takes us by surprise. Just when you think everything is going great, there is something that pulls the rug out from underneath you. It knocks you of your feet and you need to figure out how to stand back up again. I’ve noticed my life is a little bit of a rollercoaster, that somehow balances itself out. I say this because whenever something very bad happens, something equally good happens in a short time proximity.

This past week I have been dealing with a lot. I always am dealing with the hardship of my Mother, as her mind slowly gets taken away from her. Piece by piece, day by day. It’s hard to out into words how you witness such a strong beautiful woman who had it all together, decline into a form where she no longer can go to the bathroom.

Layering on that, my Grandpa has been declining rapidly on a slippery slope. And with a heavy heart, I will share he passed away on Friday night.

Grief is such a vast topic, everyone grieves differently and there’s different types of grief. With my Mom, I call this ambigious grief. I grieved her the day she got her diagnosis, and every day beyond that.

I had shocking, sideswiping, rug pulled out from underneath me grief, when my oldest brother passed away. I couldn’t believe it, and went through a longer denial stage of grief.

With my Grandpa, I’m not saying it was any easier, but he was 95 years old, and his last week was in the hospital. We knew his time has come.

If you search grief in Google, you’ll maybe discover the Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the 5 stages of grief. They are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These are general stages, I do not believe everyone grieves in this perfect order. I do firmly agree with the model on the last stage of grief is acceptance.

With my Grandpa, it was much easier to get to acceptance. I think what made this easy, is the night of his passing, he visited me in my dreams. This was so very special and I absolutely cherish it.

Thinking about my brother, it took a long time for me to get to acceptance. Even when you may think you’re at acceptance, that doesn’t mean you will never have a STUG: Subsequent Temporary Upsurge of Grief.

For example, whenever I hear the band Green Day I think of him. Funny enough, when I hear someone say the word “moron” I think of him. There are other things I could list out, but I believe you get the point.

Grieving my Mom is very hard to explain. Her physical body is still here, and I am her legal guardian. I don’t have a Mother I can go shopping with, or talk about boys, get pedicures, etc. I do have my Mother’s physical body here on Earth, and I’m not sure where her mind and spirit have gone.

This is why I call her grief ambigious, it truly is hard to explain. I’m at acceptance in the sense that I know Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death, there’s no cure, no treatment, and we know little about the disease in general. What is interesting is how I am grieving her soul and spirit, and I will have a different experience when her time comes.

To wrap all of this together, I want to bring up the concept of a Mind-Body link. Your mind is 100% linked to your body, and will affect your output if your mind isn’t in a good stage. For me, there’s also an inverse relationship of this. It helps keep my mind at ease, if I push my body. I cope by keeping up with my workouts, meditating, and nourishing my body with foods that make it happy.

I let my coach know what happened Friday evening, and she was surprised I was at Sunday Conditioning. Without hesitation, I said, “This is what keeps me, me”. I know who I am, and I need to workout to keep my mind right. I have two short videos to share of the workout I did Saturday morning.

This was a special workout since I was working out not just to get stronger, but to focus my mind, and to cope. I video-ed some Step-Ups and Glute Abduction.

I also have good metrics to report on my check-in. This is Check In #3, and while I have lost a total of 2 inches, and the number on the scale went down short of two pounds, I will post my pictures because that’s where I do see the true body composition change.
Weight: 142.5 lbs

  • Chest: 36″
  • Waist: 27.5″
  • Butt: 37.5″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Bicep: 11″

Again, I’d like to close with gratitude. My last post about fear preformed really well. I am honored and grateful you have read this. Thank you.

Check In #2

Day 15 Whole30, and I am half way there!

Every Tuesday I provide check-in stats to my coach, and below are my metrics:

Weight: 144.3 lbs

Measurements:

  • Chest: 36″
  • Waist: 27.5″
  • Butt: 38″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Bicep: 11″

I’ve decided to not upload my progress pictures because there isn’t a noticeable difference between last week. There isn’t a huge noticeable difference in my weight either, in one week it went down 1.3lbs.

What is something to note, is my difference of inches compared to last week. I am down a full inch in my waist, a 1/2 inch in my thigh, and a half inch in my butt.

This goes to show, that the number on the scale does not reflect the full and true result of your body composition change.

I am happy to see that I am thriving with my workouts and eating Whole30. I don’t feel the full effects of tiger blood, but here are a few of my “non-scale victories” I’ve felt already:

  • Falling asleep faster
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Whiter eyes
  • Waking up easier
  • Going to the tightest loop on my belt
  • My once tight work pants now fit well

I am excited to see what next week will bring, and my full metrics from Whole30. I am half way there, and I’ve said this almost every day I’ve talked about Whole30, it’s not that bad.

I think a huge game changer for me has been meditation. My coach suggested downloading headspace, and I can’t put into words how much more at ease I feel. I love the image below, it changed my view of meditation. I thought when I meditate, my mind should be clear and I should squash all thoughts that circle my mind. But in reality, I should just acknowledge that was a thought, and be at ease with it and let it go.

I will now sign of with gratitude. I truly appreciate if you are reading this and welcome all comments. I am honored you are reading what I write. Thank you.