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

No Beginners Allowed

I sit here in absolute awe of the beautiful mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It makes me take a step back, take a deep breath, and be filled with what nature provides. I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to travel and snowboard here at Mount Bohemia.

It truly is a different place up here. Their tagline is “no beginners allowed”. It is extreme back country where they do not groom any of their runs and you can ride in very fresh powder. For scale, I took a photo with snowboard next to it.

Friday night, we drove even further to the tip of the UP to Copper Harbor. We hiked about 2 miles, in snowboard boots, to have a wonderful view and out first ride of the weekend. There’s something to say for hiking that hard and far, getting up to the top and knowing you’ve made it. You have earned your ride down. As some would say, “You earn your turns”.

It was my first time riding in about two years, and I can’t really put into words the feeling that engulfed me as I laced up my snowboard boots and strapped into my board. I felt home.

An oversight of mine was not trying on my gear before riding. As I put on my snowboard pants, there was no way I could wear them without a belt. It made me take another step back and realize how far I have come on my fitness journey.

It was my first snowboard trip without drinking. To be completely honest, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by not drinking. I participated in fun events, like a limbo contest that I was very close to winning. Too bad my height is against me in limbo! Another fun event I participated in was the “Man Carries Woman” event, which is apparently super popular in Finland. My friend Kristen empowered me to participate, but participate in the sense that I would carry someone else.

Here’s a video of me trying out the typically carry of this event with my friend Jennifer:

After realizing I can complete the event, we did compete, and took 3rd place. Here’s another highlight video, and shows my cabin buddies Kristin (banana) and Brandi (Hawaiian tourist) attempting to compete piggy back style.

This was so much fun, and made me think I could maybe compete in a strong(wo)man competition someday.

I am so lucky to have such supportive and kind friends that push me to my full potential. What was even more motivating, was how understanding they were of my competition prep. They saw me pull out my Tupperware and ate lean protein, guac and rice. They commended me for doing what I was doing when I was out to eat with them, and eating my prepared food.

It was very motivating putting on a swimsuit for the hot tub and feel proud of the body I have earned.

A weekend was well spent. Mount Bohemia is such a great time and I am grateful and fortunate for my time spent up here with such amazing people.

Love and Light,

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.

Whole30 Metrics

Alright guys – I feel like this could be a much anticipated post, of what happened in the past thirty days.  Words cannot describe how ecstatic and motivated I feel after seeing the numbers move on the InBody Scale reading.  I’ll post both images for those that want to see everything that you can see in that type of scale reading, but here’s a summation of the victories:

  • Lost 7lbs Body Fat Mass
  • Went from 23.3% Body Fat, to 19.5%
    • Yes, I dropped 3.8% Body Fat in 30 DAYS!
  • Gained 0.6lbs Lean Muscle Mass
    • This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a HUGE victory to gain muscle when I dropped that much fat mass so quickly.
  • Evened out the strength in my arms, and gained muscle in my arms
  • Got closer to evening out the strength in my legs, went from a 0.2lb difference to about a 0.1lb difference
  • My Basal Metabolic Rate went up
    • Basal Metabolic Rate (aka BMR) is a reading of how many calories your body would burn if you literally laid in bed all day.
    • My weight went down, but my body composition changed so drastically, my body became more efficient and now needs more calories to sustain my muscle mass.

Now, I will list my “non-scale” victories:

  • Falling asleep faster
  • Better quality of sleep
  • even energy levels throughout the day
  • No “2:30” feeling
  • No crashing after meals
  • Lost 2.75 inches throughout the lower half of my body

You may be wondering if I will go on a sugar binge now that I am no longer restricted by Whole30.  Knowing I will be my best self come May, I did not indulge greatly.  Day 30 was coincidentally my 2 year anniversary with my boyfriend.  We went out to an amazing steak house in Minneapolis, and I indulged with a glass of red wine (which honestly, wasn’t worth it).  I also had a small piece of the crust of the bread in the bread basket.  I had a bite of their creamed garlic spinach.  I ordered a filet mignon, and sautéed mushrooms and I enjoyed those fully.  I cannot describe how crushed I felt when the waiter brought over this beautiful piece of Bailey’s chocolate cake, with a cookie crust, homemade whip cream on top, and he lit a candle and drizzled chocolate fudge with a ladle on top of the decadent dessert and said, “Happy Anniversary!”  There was no way I couldn’t have a bite or two of that.  I ended up having three small bites, and those were 100% worth it.  Here’s some fun pictures from that night:

I felt super confident in that pink dress, knowing how much my body composition changed, in just a mere 30 days!

You may be wondering what I am eating now.  It is a lot like Whole30, with the exception I am allowed grain.  I eat a lot of lean protein, brown rice, healthy fat and fibrous carbs (aka veggies).  I am excited to see what happens to my body in the next few months as there was such a dramatic change in 30 days.

Thank you for reading this post – Love & Light,

Annie