One of the recurring undertones in my profession, both with my in-person clients at the gym as well as my contest prep clients, is the desire to see results faster. People… please! If there is anyone that understands this, it is me. A woman that has been on top of the mountain and had her dream physique, only to lose it in what seemed like an unfair pull of the rug from underneath her feet. What feels like a never ending battle to find perfection can be so frustrating.
I say these things daily… “It takes time”, “Be patient”, “The things you want to get rid of didn’t get there overnight”, “Be realistic with yourself”, “Enjoy the process!”
What I will also tell you is this: There are things you can control and things you will have to learn to deal with.
What can you control?
- How you exercise – intensity, frequency, duration
- What you consume – quantity, frequency
- How you cope with life stress – we all have stress and we all must cope
- Prioritizing yourself – your workouts should be a priority, if they are just something you do when you “get a chance” you will struggle finding results.
What will you have to learn to deal with?
- Managing your time
- Juggling your priorities such as work and family responsibilities
- Sleep – or lack thereof and how to improve sleeping habits
- The process of reaching your goals
Although it can be frustrating, patience is something we all need in the pursuit of our goals. Find comfort in things such as a better athletic performance, like lifting heavier weight, running faster, being able to climb a flight of stairs without losing your breathe… etc. The final outcome is a culmination of many small, mundane and sometimes boring habits repeated over and over for an extended amount of time, perhaps much longer than you care to recognize. The time will pass regardless, so why not stick with the plan and charge forward?
This is a common question for many people who are interested in competing in a Bodybuilding show, but perhaps do not know what category to enter. The more people you ask, the more confusing it can become. The wave of Social Media “celebrities” combined with the generation of required instant gratification, has really made competing even more convoluted than before. Here’s my suggestion… After watching a few shows, decide which category you think would be most enjoyable for you to compete in… now I use the word enjoyable cautiously here. Let’s be straight, competing is NOT all enjoyable, fun, rainbows and gold coins. It is a lot of hard work. We know this. But the only way a person will get any valuable feedback is by going through the preparation process, getting on stage, having some photos taken and getting a critique from the head judge of the show (This is something you would do post show by sending a polite email introducing yourself along with a stage photo showing your number).
Now, if you have your heart set on a specific division, but perhaps you just need more time to develop a certain body part, than humble yourself, put in the work (which may take years) and focus on that end goal of getting on stage in the division of your choosing. If you decide to keep competing without giving your body ample time to recuperate and develop, you will not evolve and your chances of success may dwindle. Bodybuilding (and all of the other divisions included) is one of those beautiful hobbies that will afford you the opportunity to improve over time. The body cannot develop while under a caloric restriction. So the idea of dieting for a show and trying to “build up” a certain body part at the same time is illogical and foolish. Hypertrophy (GROWTH) requires proper amounts of fuel and a specific method of training.
If your heart’s desire is to get on stage and you are willing to do a little trial and error until you find the right division for yourself, you might have a little easier time… doesn’t mean you won’t diet as much as the next person, or be able to skip training certain body parts… But you may wind up placing or having a good competition experience because you chose a division that may be the right fit for your body type/structure/build.
Again, it’s about having clear goals and utilizing resources to achieve the best outcome possible… and that term “best outcome possible” I leave to interpretation. One person’s best might be a Top 10 placing. Another might want to win an Overall title… and another person might want to just be onstage and bask in that glory. There is no right or wrong, it’s about personal goals.
Find someone experienced and honest to consult with, if you feel unsure. I am willing to give my input.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember… Everyone starts somewhere. Never give up on your health and fitness goals!
One of my former bosses used to always say to people he had not seen in a while, “you are conspicuous by your absence”
And, no… I have not published a blog entry in a few months… partly because I am working on restructuring the format, reworking the content I present, and also I’ve been doing a lot of writing/saving entries… just have not felt the push to post anything.
I also have been thinking about my own image/portrayal… How do I want to be received? How do I want to be remembered? I have a lot of experiences to share, views on things related to life and fitness more specifically… yet, I do not feel this drive to shove my views down the throats of my social media followers and blog subscribers.
I have been posting less, sharing less, taking less photos, talking less… spending more time reading, reflecting, learning, and of course, exercising. You see, while I know I am completely transparent, honest, and express myself freely… I also realize that not every thought needs to be expressed exactly at the moment in which I think it. Maybe I’m analyzing too much… but the more nonsense I see being put out into the world, particularly on social media… the more inclined I am to remain quiet and focused on the things that truly bring me joy, happiness, a sense of fulfillment.
So have no fear… I have not disappeared… I have not gone anywhere, except the Jersey Shore for 2 days at the very end of the summer (that was the first and only time I felt sand in between my toes in 2015)… Just rethinking EVERYTHING!
Everybody thinks they “Eat Clean” and some that “eat clean” feel it’s pointless because they do not see results. That term is used too often and means something different to every person you ask. For some people, not drinking alcohol on weekdays or not having any dessert after dinner is what they consider eating clean. For others, they might follow a plan that is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo, or some other type of dietary lifestyle and that is what those people view as eating clean. Again, too vague of a term to define.
If you want results, you need to be accountable. First, establish your goal(s). Are you looking to lose some body fat? Do you want to perform better when you go to your Crossfit box? Would you like to add some muscle to your body?
After you determine your goals and determine which type of nutrition plan you want to follow (if you are not hiring a Nutritionist or Coach) you should examine your current intake so you can make adjustments where necessary. Keep some type of log… use a journal or one of the many free smart phone apps that will not only keep a log of your food intake, but also break down all of the macronutrients and micronutrients. I tend to go for the latter of the two.
Few more simple tips that will help you dial in on your nutrition…
Make a list prior to going grocery shopping – this will help you stick to the new plan and not buy snacks/foods that you should avoid.
Prep food in advance – I’m not big on making an entire week’s worth of food, but I do like to have enough prepared food in my refrigerator to last 2 or 3 days.
Pack and bring your food with you in a cooler if you’re away from the house for several hours – Some people might view this as extreme, but if you want to be sure to eat on time and avoid impulsive eating, having your own food is the best option.
One more thing… When you do embark on a new Nutrition plan… I strongly suggest sticking to the plan 100% for 2 weeks before determining that something isn’t working and making any changes. COMPLIANCE is usually the biggest issue for people… and it doesn’t matter how flawless a plan is, if the individual is not following said plan.
2015 started out with some interesting twists and turns pertaining to my health. I managed to keep things under wraps for the most part and only shared what I was going through with a handful of friends, clients and family. Rather than get into all of the details, I will just say that the worst is behind me now and I am on the road to recovery, Thank Goodness! During the days that I was home resting, I realized that it was time for me to take action with one of the goals I set for myself for the Year 2015…. Start practicing YOGA. Over all the years that I have studied Dance, Karate, Bodybuilding, Strength Training and Powerlifting, I have not spent much time taking care of my Mind/Body and stretching out all of the tightness I created.
I have taken a handful of Bikram Yoga classes, which are the classes conducted in the heated studios, as well as some Hatha Yoga at the gym where I work. So far, I am loving the way I feel. It is rejuvenating to say the least. I am more clear, more at peace and more complete. I will continue to share my experiences, observations, and anecdotes as I see fit. Thank you for being a part of my journey.
Your photo shoot is approaching, it’s your first time working with a photographer… Here are some things to consider:
Several weeks in advance
- Book the shoot – Confirm the date and meeting time. Be sure if you are doing your own hair & makeup, you arrive ready to shoot. If you are getting hair & makeup done by a professional at the site, be sure to arrive early and give yourself time to primp.
- Confirm the location – You will need to know if you are shooting outside or in a studio.
- Clarify who will be at the shoot – will it be just you and the photographer? will the photographer have an assistant? will you be bringing someone?
- Confirm how many looks you plan on shooting – Most photographers have a limit on the number of outfits/looks per shoot.
Week before shoot
- Stop tanning or using a spray tan – both can cause your skin to look very dry. Tanning beds can also cause minor water retention under the muscles, which is the last thing you want the day of a photo shoot.
- Eat clean – no need to deplete yourself and get stage-ready (unless you happen to be shooting the day or two before a show). Often times, the very-depleted look does not photograph great. Most people wind up showing a lot of wrinkles and dryness because of being depleted in pictures.
- Drink water – cannot emphasize this enough. You have to stay hydrated and continue flushing out toxins to help maintain a clear complexion for the shoot. GOOD SKIN goes a long way in photos.
Morning of shoot
- Eat small meals – cut back on vegetables and anything heavy. Last thing you want is a full stomach or any bloating.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing – nothing too tight, including undergarments or a bathing suit. This will prevent markings on the skin.
- Continue to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.
- Bring something for the photographer to drink – I usually bring coffee and a large water.
- Be on time, if not early.
- Relax and enjoy the shoot – SMILE!
We don’t have bad days
We smile and are courteous to our clients even on the worst of the worst possible days.
We stand on our feet all day long.
We shovel food in our mouths like animals, most of the time cold, out of a tupperware, and usually just standing in the locker room because there is little time for eating. Most of us live on protein shakes.
We service clients that want to train early in the morning as well as late at night, many times on the same day.
We scramble to do things like grocery shopping and laundry in between appointments on our “light” days, which could be any given day of the week, but most definitely not Saturday (which is when all the weekend warriors want to train).
We work hard to maintain a professional tone throughout our sessions, even when clients tell us very personal things like stories about their spouse, kids, work, etc.
We generally work hard to accommodate our clients’ needs.
We drink a lot of coffee and/or tea to remain alert and focused for our clients.
We do get tired at times. We are human too. We like to workout also and love our private time to do that, even when you interrupt us on our own time.
We want you to succeed and accomplish your goals.
We often become emotionally invested in your journey.
We appreciate your “thank yous” and loyalty.
Be nice to your trainer.
So we are already in the middle of the Holiday Season. Parties galore, happy hour specials, brunch with friends… it never ends… and if you are anything like me, sticking to “the diet” can be tough during this time. Here are a few tips that might help you survive without packing on the pounds or losing momentum:
1. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate your adult beverages with club soda or ice water.
2. Go for the raw vegetables and/or salad first.
3. Don’t skip meals prior to an event because you know you’ll be going all out on the buffet. This may cause you to really overdo it and eat way too much at once.
4. Have a plate full of colorful vegetables and a piece of protein… allow yourself some time to breathe before hitting the buffet for round 2.
5. Skip desserts altogether…. go for fruit, if that is an option.
6. If you do indulge, don’t stress about it or try to make up for it with “extra” cardio the next day… just drink a lot of water and get back into your routine.
Instead of playing “Follow The Leader” what many people play is “Follow The Follower”… Unknowingly. Don’t be afraid to be different, be bold, be unique, and think for yourself…. Please watch this video just over 1 minute long, from Earl Nightingale, which summarizes exactly what I am talking about: