Since my last story approximately two years ago, I’ve rejoined the workforce, commuted to another county, my mother survived cancer, I’ve competed in a small bodybuilding show, sold my house and divorced. It’s been quite a journey.
The competition in February 2013 was small and a lot of fun. I wasn’t the fittest competitor at the show, but I was the fittest ME. Just being strong enough and brave enough to get up on stage after having kids and several years of training and getting healthier was a victory in itself. I lost to my bodybuilding coaches, but no disappointment there. I did it for myself!
I am planning to compete in Women’s Physique this summer in Venice Beach. Gorgeous plans, lots of fun and many friends will compete there. Again, I’ll be doing it just for myself. Free time and extra money are scarce these days, so one show is my only goal.
My work/life/gym balance is currently far from ideal. I spend 3-4 hours commuting daily to my office in Orange County. I have my daughters every other week but hardly see them. My training is done whenever I can fit it in. Five days training per week is my goal, but fluctuates based upon travel times, the girl’s schedules, obligations, and a disturbing need for sleep. This is the area of my life that needs drastic improvement, but the bills must be paid!
My primary goal is to find proper balance, spend as much quality time with my loved ones as possible and become as financially independent as I can without sacrificing my health, fitness or family time.
For the past 4-6 months I’ve been lifting as heavy as possible and building strength and mass. My upper body and legs have grown and definitely reflect it. I focus on individual muscle groups during each training session, but do adore training chest with triceps and lats with biceps. I just started lowering the weight and am doing 20 minutes of some type of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) almost daily now that I am working on leaning out so the muscle definition really pops. I am very careful to keep the cardio moderate, my ultimate goal is burning fat without burning muscle mass. I want to keep the strength I’ve worked so hard to develop.
While my nutrition is tighter now that I am working on getting leaner, I am much more loose with it than I used to be. I eyeball portions more often than weighing and measuring. Treats find their way in when I feel the need. I recently recalculated my macros and am playing around with 170 grams protein, 140 grams carbs and 40 grams fat daily. If I don’t see the results I’m aiming for, I’ll change it. No plan is so perfect that it cannot be improved upon. This isn’t a diet or a fad, it’s my lifestyle. It gets tweaked as my goals and needs change. I eat a lot of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Added sugar and processed foods are kept to bare minimums. I’ve been doing this long enough that it’s no longer habit, but second nature.
Getting started, overweight, after having two children and multiple abdominal surgeries was HARD. It was even more challenging to keep stepping into the gym when progress was slow, or seemed non-existent because I couldn’t see the changes happening fast enough for my liking. It seemed like all of the incredibly fit people I saw at my gym were born that way and found it an effortless process. I have never, ever forgotten how that felt. I know better now and my passion is to help motivate others to take that first step. Encourage them to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Small steps now lead to BIG changes later. The journey to health and fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. I want others to believe in their own inner strength and learn how to channel that into self-motivation.
The past year has been the most challenging of my life. It’s also been the most rewarding. I’ve fully embraced my inner strength, further developed my outer strength and emerged with the clearest vision of just who I am and, more specifically, who I am not. I am perfectly imperfect and the people in my life who truly matter embrace me for who I am, not who they want me to be. I am grateful for each new day. Love and respect yourself first. Then allow others to. Love more. Train harder. Eat better. Dream bigger. Don’t compare yourself to others be the best possible YOU!