It’s been 14 weeks of workouts, cardio and diet changes.
It’s also just been 14 weeks of massive internal changes.
The first time I did a show, it was about regaining my sense of self. I needed to prove I was smart and capable and able to do well on my own two feet. I’d survived an abusive relationship and needed to erase two years of self-doubt, self-hate, and find myself within that. I succeeded beyond my wildest imagination and in so I began a healing process that I truly believe has taken another three years to finally complete.
So when I went into competition season this year, my motivations were very different, my mental state much healthier, my reasoning much more about the kind of person and challenges I want to face moving forward, growing up and changing for the better, in more than just fitness.
When I started this prep I was looking to make a physical change and a mental one. I’m not necessarily the best person at taking orders, it’s been an issue that I’ve needed to work on in my career and personal life- to take criticism and turn it into a positive change. So I decided to go through this competition season with a coach, to try and learn these skills.
So for the past 14 weeks, I’ve worked with an amazing coach. Jamie and I have been friends since I met her at my first show 2 years ago. She and I had gotten to know each other over social media for a while prior to the decision to compete and we’d discussed working together prior to this competition season but the timing wasn’t right for me.
Timing, I’m learning, is everything.
Jamie is a great coach for several reasons, but the one I appreciate most is that she is willing to listen to my set boundaries and work within them. She wants me to succeed, but understands that my plan is not about being the leanest girl on stage and taking home a trophy, my plan is to step on that stage and be the healthiest version of myself, to beat my prior competition body, and to walk off feeling both accomplished and happy.
Does that mean we haven’t argued? No. I hate fasted cardio and won’t do it. I’ve sent her studies. So I eat a small amount of carbs before hand and knock it out, mostly fasted. I gave her a decent list of “nope, I won’t eat that” items. Red meat, potatoes, beans, etc. And she works within that. I’ve had some issues with the diet, there have been adjustments. I complain bitterly via text messages about being tired and miserable and not wanting to do things, but she encourages me to do them anyway.
But she also surprised me, there are no crazy requirements. Two full days of rest, no crazy supplements like fat burners and pre-workouts and Monster Ultra and limited amounts of protein powder. My diet is 99% whole food items. And she gave me my macros each week so that if I hasn’t prepped or was on-the-go for work, I could quickly work something similarly suitable into my daily meals. We also have a solid game plan for reverse dieting after the second show, to allow my metabolism and body to rebound to maintenance level in a healthy manner, this isn’t a coach and disappear situation, it’s a relationship and friendship I’ve really grown to adore.
I couldn’t be happier with her as a coach. And I mean that. I had doubts, I had a hell of a lot of doubts considering my last attempt at working with a coach was freaking terrible. Jamie has more than proved that she knows what she’s doing and I trust her and the process and have seen incredible results both physically and mentally.
In the past 14 weeks: I’ve changed career paths, made new friends, said goodbye to old ones, reconnected with people whom I love and adore and found a backbone where I needed to and said no to over-committing my time, my energy, my friendships, my life. I’ve been selfish with my workouts and my health. I’ve spent a lot less time out and a lot more time invested in reading, in business, in personal growth. It’s changed a lot for me and my viewpoints, but all in ways I feel like I can grow from, positively.
I’ve become a champion for myself and my goals and I am a cheerleader for those that want to work on their own. I hold my head high because I’ve learned more about patience, about listening, about trust and moving forward than I could have ever believed.
Prep turned from a solely fitness oriented goal, to an implement of profound change overall and I could not be in a better place as I move towards new changes and new goals.
I had a hell of a time building myself into this woman for the past 14 weeks. I’m incredibly excited about the next 7, from moving to a new home, to traveling for work, to improving for my second and last show of this competition year.
So here is a small timeline of events, and I apologize now for the face. I hate getting up at 7 a.m. and I hate weighing myself. But progress pictures are necessary and they are so amazing in clearing up your own mind when you have doubts on your own progress or abilities.
I wrote all my own workouts, was given some plyo examples from Jamie for cardio (which I had to make minor adjustments to for knee issues and injury) and I followed her meal plan and macros. I apologize now because it’s a lot of pictures of me in my underwear, but I wear the same thing for photos and I try to stay consistent.
Here we go:
Week One: Weight 129.0 pounds
Week Thirteen: 123.0 pounds
Just look at the difference over three consecutive weeks, the beach, the return from the beach, and the weekend after. Also- posing makes a world of difference. And carbs y’all. Bless up on carbs for all the good they do to some flat ass muscles.
Peak Week is something else. I felt brain dead and tired and like nothing was going to come together, but I saw my coach every day. First thing in the morning and every evening. She came over on Thursday so we could have our Luncheonette dinner and nails date and to be here for all the last minute jitters and diet edits. And stayed the night Friday to make sure I was ready to go on Saturday morning. Jamie isn’t just a coach who weighs in if needed, she is actively part of the process.
We spent peak week doing all the things a girl should do. Got my nails done, ate my weight in Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast, grilled enough chicken to take down a small army.
I got my spray tan and my meal plan and my 5 a.m. wake up call for Saturday.
Stage Day: Weight 123.6
Being on stage is a funny thing. I was up at 5:00 for hair and makeup and tanning. I was lucky in that I met a bunch of really great girls backstage and hung out with them. Haley, whom I’d followed since last year on IG. Danielle and Charlene and Jordan were all total sweethearts and we took rice cake pictures and joked about twerking and made it an awesome and empowering experience.
But I have to tell you, during prejudging- when you don’t make first call outs, when you are moved further and further down the line- it messed with me big time. I walked off that stage, not happy with the fact I am the leanest and in the best shape of MY life, but doubt filled and worried that I wasn’t enough.
It was a major reality check for me. This is a SUBJECTIVE sport. You are being judged by a panel of individuals with all their own preferences. There is no set requirements. So my lower half might be “too big” by someone’s standards or I’m not “lean enough.” I needed the reminder before I walked back out for true novice, that the reasons I did this show were about personal growth and not placement, but the fact I needed that reminder was pretty scary. That can easily lead to disordered behavior: do more, eat less, work harder, try this, try that- to be the right level of something for someone else’s personal tastes.
It definitely has me questioning if I’m ready to take on October 15th, another show, where I will be judged on how I should look based off of the feedback here. Am I ok with that? Do I need that kind of thought process? I’ve come so far as a person in this prep, I don’t want to backslide.
Remember, weight loss, is a process. It’s slow and it’s not linear. And it takes TIME. This was 14 weeks. I have 7 weeks left to go before I do this again and I hope to bring an even better version of myself to the stage. It’s frustrating and seems like it takes forever, but if this is something you want to do- you CAN do this. Whether you want to hit the stage or just a physical goal, set a game plan and go!
If you are thinking of competing, the only advice I can give you is this: 1) know that it costs more than you think. Suit, shoes, coach, posing clinics, food, supplements if you use them, spray tan, entry fees, hair and makeup and association fees add up and quickly. 2) Choose the RIGHT coach. If they are willing to damage your health for a trophy. Walk away. Run. Post and share about that. There are more shitty coaches than good ones. DO NOT HURT YOURSELF FOR A TROPHY. 3) Enjoy it. It’s supposed to be fun. Go in without expectation of winning or placing. Think of it as a great journey for yourself. And smile your head off on that stage!
And if I choose to compete in October, I’ll let you know.
By the way- I placed 4th in the true Novice category.
Thank you to:
- Jamie Bangert, coach and friend
- Shawna Pringle for Hair and Makeup
- GlitzbyBrit for my incredible suit
- Gary Udit and Peter Gordon for the posing feedback and advice
- And every friend, family member, and acquaintance who supported me.