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

How Fear is Your Most Powerful Emotion

Often times, fear can be such a debilitating emotion.  It can harbor us from doing so many things.  It can keep us in bed instead of experience life and joy to its fullest.  It can keep us in our shells instead of flourishing into the greatness that we all have inside of us.

So let me ask you this, how much does fear control your life?  Do you let fear get in the way of achieving greatness?  Today, I am here to talk about how you can harness such a powerful emotion, into something positive.  Fear can be a catalyst.  It starts a ripple in your ocean of thoughts.  Do you let that ripple expand and smooth out, or do you welcome the violent rain storm and send your mind spinning down into a hurricane?

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I have a few stories to share about how fear has shaped my life personally, and how that emotion has impacted those around me.  My first story to share is about my Grandfather.  I am sorry to report he is not doing well.  He was refusing a pacemaker last week and gave up the will to live.  His pastor stopped by the hospital and asked him a few questions.  She asked if he was afraid of dying, and initially, he reported that he was not afraid of dying and he was ready.  Then she asked him, “So what are you really afraid of then?”  He replied, “Well… I guess the anesthesia”.  To give a little background, his wife, my Grandmother, went under general anesthesia twice in a very close proximity.  This resulted in detrimental effects on her mental health, and ultimately she passed away spring time of last year.  When my Grandfather was under the impression he wanted to die, he told my Dad, “When a spouse dies, typically the other spouse goes in a year….Man, I do not have much time left”.

At this point, the pastor knew the background of the anesthesia with my Grandmother and then pointed out to my Grandfather, “So you are afraid of dying from the anesthesia then?” Then, my Grandfather responded matter-of-factly, “Well, yeah!” “So you do want a pacemaker then?” “Well yeah put one of those things in me”.

It was just like that.  The pastor was able to find his fear, and harness it for positivity.  She was able to change his heart and uncover his true will to live.

Many people are afraid of failure, rejection, public speaking, heights, clowns, etc.  Fear that I struggle with is failure.  I am very competitive in nature, and I want to do the best I possible can do.  I am a high performer, and if I know I didn’t follow through with something, or I fail, this is something that will get to me.  Fear, is actually the reason why I didn’t want to compete in a body building show for the past two years.  I witnessed my roommate compete in shows, and I didn’t understand how the judging worked.  Everything seemed so subjective to me.  I feared putting in so much time and effort, and not even making “call backs” or whatever the second level is truly called.

This year, I changed my definition of success, I am not judging my success on obtaining a trophy or a place in the show.  Success for me will be my journey, becoming the best I have ever been, and adhering diligently to the plan my coach lays out.  My fear has been harnessed to push me into my next level of excellence in fitness.  I cannot put into words how excited I am for this, and I am excited that I am doing this, solely for me.  I often find I put so much time and effort into pleasing or doing things for others.  I have to truly work at and ensure I book time for my own self care.

I’ll end with the last story I have about fear.  Early on in my life, I would say around the time I was in middle school, I was talking to my Father about something that scared me.  I honestly remember this moment so vividly, it was a very pivotal part in my way of thinking.  I was riding in his pick-up truck, explaining how I was afraid of doing something. With the most confident voice he could ever have, he said to me, “Anne, you can do anything you put your mind to”.

(Yes, I asked to be called Anne from age 10-27, and still do in the professional world; I’ll write about that in another post).

I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.

My Dad has been my biggest cheerleader and motivator throughout my life.  At that moment he told me that, something clicked.  I honestly believed him.  I thought, “Yes, I am a Rathman, I can do anything”.  When fear comes creeping in, the moment I am thinking, “I can’t”, I hear my Dad, “Yes, you can”.  Fear is deep, but if you dig deep down and harness it, you can use that emotion to slingshot you into something you may never thought you could do before.

I’ll close with this final thought.  Please use your most powerful emotion as a catalyst for positivity.  You will surprise yourself of what you are capable of.