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

Why I Hate the Word Diet

Before I get into why I hate the word diet, I want to give a huge shout out to Perfect Fit Gear co-owner, Anita Swole for having me on her podcast, Balancing Act.  You can access the podcast through this link.  I also want to give a huge shout out to her sister, Camile Swole for summing up what was discussed during the podcast:

“Anita interviewed a soon-to-be first time competitor. Her website is bunnyflexfit.com Her definition of success will not be a trophy or a place, but her success will be the transformation her body goes through during this process. She plans on competing in the 2019 Mr. and Mrs. Natural Minnesota Bodybuilding Competition on May 24th and 25th.

“-Thinking about nutrition serving as the prevention of diseases, not just flavors of food.
– Thinking about exercise as a way to combat depression or anxiety instead of just a requirement to low body fat.”

These were the two biggest takeaways I got from listening to this weeks episode of Sowle Sisters Balancing act where Anita flew solo this episode when she talked to first-time competitor Annie Rathman!

This was SO fun to listen to for me! I actually related to her viewpoint SO much. I wish other bikini competitors would also shift focus on certain aspects of competing. They touch on
– Definition of a successful prep
– Nah- Sayers
– Getting offended
– The effects of fitness in other ways than vanity
-Thinking about nutrition serving as the prevention of diseases, not just flavors of food.
– Thinking about exercise as a way to combat depression or anxiety instead of just a requirement for low body fat.
– Life happens
-Intuitive Eating

Make to check out Annies blog she mentioned in the episode!
bunnyflexfit.com/2019/01/18/how-f…owerful-emotion/” – Camille Swole

Check out the rest of their podcasts on SoundCloud

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Now, onto my definition of the word diet.

Hate is a strong word, I guess I shouldn’t say I hate the word “diet”. I would say I do hate the negative connotation with this word.

Diet, has a few different definitions within Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

diet

noun

di·​et | \ ˈdī-ət  \

Definition of diet

afood and drink regularly provided or consumed
diet of fruits and vegetables
a vegetarian diet
bhabitual nourishment
links between diet and disease
cthe kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
was put on a low-sodium diet
da regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight
going on a diet

 

As I read through those definitions, what sticks out to me is the definition about how the diet is set for a definitive period of time. I feel this connotation, sets up a lot of people for failure. For example, “21-Day Fix,” how do you think you will truly make a lifestyle change and create a habit that will keep with you for the rest of your life, in 21 days? I’m not saying this diet is not effective, but it has something in common with other diets. Think about: Atkins, Zone, Keto, insert new fad diet program here. What does all of these “diets” have in common? It makes you focused, and consider what you eat before it enters your mouth. After you hit your goal of say about a 15 pound weight loss, most people think they deserve a treat, and slowly but surely go back to the way they were used to eating, and gain MORE weight back than they originally had!

This type of yo-yo dieting is not great for your body physically, and mentally. It creates this mind set of guilt with food, and a mind set of “oh I’d be much more happier, successful, a better person if I lost 15 pounds” or “I am a failure since I ate a donut”. This type of mental guilt breeds eating disorders and overtraining.

Why don’t we shift our mindset and instead of saying “I am going on a diet” to “I am creating a lifestyle change to become healthier”. The latter suggestion states your why, and shows it isn’t for a finite period of time. I think this type of answer would defeat any type of naysayer telling you that you do not need to diet.

I like Whole30’s approach of defeating naysayers, you tell them you’re doing a 30 day experiment to understand how to nourish your body properly. What is the person that says, “look at you being healthy” going to say to that?

There is no “quick fix” to lifestyle changes and becoming physically fit. It is feeding into out instant gratification culture and society, but unfortunately body composition change is driven through hard work, and consistent dedication. Body composition change does not come from a short, finite period of time.

 

Thanks for listening to my rant. I think this is an important message for people to understand you can’t just drink Slimfast for 3 weeks and keep the weight off for the rest of your life.

Quiet consistency is how you drive change, and become your best self physically and mentally.

With gratitude, thank you so much for reading. Please comment on your thoughts about the word diet and your definition.

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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Day 24 – Tiger Blood

Today is Day 24 of my Whole30.  I wish I could say I am feeling absolutely fantastic like I typically am days 20-30, but in reality, grief is taking over my typical tiger blood feelings.

It’s been a rough weekend/week for me.  Friday, I get the news my Grandfather passed.  Saturday, we get news that my boyfriend’s relative passed, and we went out of town Sunday – Monday.  Tuesday I went into work and explained what happened, and was granted bereavement for the rest of the week.  Wednesday I go to the gym, and get news that one of the dogs that I loved dearly also passed.  What is it with this week?  How much grief can a girl deal with?

This is definitely impacting how I meal prep.  It is hard for me to find the motivation to determine what I want to make as recipes, and then make my grocery list, shop, and prep.  My hardest part is coming up with the ideas for meals and recipes, usually once I have a list and know what I’m going to make, it is smooth sailing from there.  I guess most of my brain capacity has been commanded by grief.

I am fortunate that the gym I go to has a cafe that is capable of making a Whole30 meal, which is what I had for breakfast on Wednesday.  Tuesday was a hard day eating wise for me since I just came back from out of town, had to explain what happened to my coworkers, and then take Benji to puppy training class.  I was really crossing my fingers that Cub Foods had a “Just Bare” rotisserie chicken left over for me.  However, by the time I got there, around 7:30pm, there wasn’t a single rotisserie chicken left.  I felt a little crushed.  I did decide just to grab a few chicken breast fillets and grill them at home on my little grill pan, and toss with buffalo and ranch (whole30 compliant, of course).

It’s times like these that make Whole30, even more hard.  Whole30 is definitely hard to begin with, but when you had layers and layers of stress onto it, it can guide you off a cliff. Today, I am fully aware of what is happening.  I guess I was always aware of what was happening but I was just letting it happen the past few days… However, today is different.  I will be figuring out a meal plan, I will be grocery shopping, and I will be setting myself up for success.  It’s 100% okay that I am feeling grief, but something that will help me cope and make me feel better, is fueling my body with nutrient dense foods.

Plus, I need to feed my body to keep crushing my goals at the gym.  Below I’ll post a few videos from Wednesday.  This probably isn’t the type of post you’re expecting, usually the last week of Whole30 is more of “oh I feel so absolutely great, here are all of my non-scale victories, everyone I know and their Mom should do a Whole30!”

I try to be as honest and consistent as possible with my posts.  I pour my heart out into these and I explain exactly what I am going through.  And again, I would like to thank you so much for reading.  I am honored you spent time to understand what I am going through.

And now, Wednesday’s Workout Videos:

My last post was absolutely accurate, this is what keeps me, me.  If I wasn’t working out, I would not be in a good headspace for sure.

That’s it for today, have a wonderful day.