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FitbyTiana

Brief Look Back

My last time on stage was in 2013. It was a roller coaster of a year for me as I made a huge career change, said goodbye to my favorite car (it died on me after 10 years), and I made my IFBB Pro Figure Debut… What a ride! These pics are some points along the way… April in the top left, November in the bottom right.  22 weeks and 25 lbs difference.

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This show was my first show as a Pro and might turn out to be my last.  Although one never knows what the future holds, it is safe to say that going through one more competition preparation might do some major damage to my health.  In 2010, I earned my pro status at the Team Universe show held in Hackensack, NJ.  It was a momentous day and I really put my heart and soul into making my dream come true… What unfolded in the next few weeks post show was a nightmare I thought I would never experience.  Extreme water retention, weight gain, cravings, gastrointestinal issues, irregular periods, aching joints, exhaustion… I went into hiding and hated leaving my apartment for anything.  I had done major damage to myself by overtraining, undereating, and doing way too much cardiovascular exercise… 3 hours per day, 7 days per week for 9 weeks straight… No complex carbohydrates, too much protein, very low-fat… DISASTER!

I worked with several doctors and hired a coach based out of Canada to help get me on track.  We had success and after 6 months of working together, I thought I could try things on my own for a while, which I did successfully.  By fall 2012, when I made the decision to change careers and put an action plan together, I had gotten my body to a place where I wasn’t hating myself anymore, but I was trying very hard to continue working towards the body, the image, the shape that I recognize… the one I feel comfortable in.

Fast forward about 8 months… Now I’m a Personal Trainer working at a gym, running my online business Fit by Tiana, and coaching athletes with their stage presentations at local competitions.  It felt like maybe I could saddle up and compete one more time. Maybe documenting my experience on social media would help build my following and also show clients, friends and supporters how transparent I am… which would ultimately help my business long-term.

So, I jumped into another show prep with the help of a different coach.  We took things slow at first, not a ton of cardio, eating a lot of food, training very heavy weights… A recipe for success, if you will.  I knew this could be dangerous… being as I had already experienced countless doctor visits, MRIs, lab tests, detoxes, etc… I made a deal with myself….

“If I start to feel shitty at any point during this process, I will drop out of the show”

What do you think happened??? 🙂 Yup… I felt fine…. all the way until I was about 3 weeks out.  Can you imagine preparing for 19 weeks and suddenly

… you look 5 months pregnant after every meal?

… most meals make you nauseous?

… you break out in hives or have severely dry skin?

… your energy plummets (like way more than you’ve ever felt before) you can barely lift your arms or keep your eyes open?

… you want to drop out of the show?….. but…… you don’t….

I went through with the competition… not feeling well… not looking my best… not confident… and ashamed of myself… for something completely out of my control.  My body was not happy with me… and here I was having flashbacks and reliving similar bad experiences from 2010.

Was there glory in finishing the process? yes… absolutely! Did my business pick up after the show? yes… it did.  Did I secretly hate myself again for being foolish? YES!

Those few minutes on the stage were glorious in some ways… but the price I paid was not.  So, while I am very proud of what I have accomplished, and I miss the stage very much… I know my purpose is not to compete.. but rather to help other people who want to compete and to aid them in not making the same mistakes I made.  I recently was told by an old acquaintance that she felt competing was “completely self-serving” and “nothing good comes out of it”.  I would have to disagree wholeheartedly.  I learned so much about myself through every single show I competed in from 2000 to 2013… and I would not trade that knowledge for the world.  My clients are better served because of my personal experiences, good and not so good.  The simple fact is no one forces anyone to do anything… we all make choices in life and we need to own them.

Categories
training

All or Nothing

That is my personality… it is my way.  I loathe mediocrity and laziness.  That doesn’t mean I demand 100% uptime all day and night.  Everyone needs down time, of course. But when I venture into something new, I dive right in and do a lot of homework.  Yoga is my latest addition, and I must admit, this is one that is staying long-term.  It is one month into my practice and I am in love with my journey thus far.  Of course, there is so much I don’t know… like the names of poses… but I follow along in class very well and having a good sense of body alignment/positioning, we call it proprioception in Personal Training, has truly helped me cruise along.

I am still lifting weights and doing HIIT cardio 3-4 times per week, but the Yoga is really my priority at this time.  Some days, I do both types of exercise, and it has been really interesting.

I implore you to try something out of your comfort zone, even if only temporarily… You just never know, there could be something you wind up truly enjoying… Go for it.

Categories
life

Reflect

There is one day left in the year 2014… by the time you read this, there may be even less than 24 hours… I’m not going to go into cliché bits about “looking back” or establishing new goals for 2015… I mean, come on… you’ve heard it all before.  Truth is, if your goals have anything to do with getting in shape for an event such as a mud race or Powerlifting meet or just trying to get lean for yourself… why would you wait until 2015?  Hopefully, you’ve already started!  There are no rules as to when to start a new goal.  There is no right time.  The time is now, no wait… the time might have just passed… but now is the moment you realized it and can get going!

oh… hang on… so, before we go racing off to the sporting goods store to get a pair of weightlifting shoes and chalk for that meet you entered…. or placing the order for that rhinestone-encrusted bikini for next spring’s bodybuilding show….

HOW DID YOU DO IN 2014?

If you feel brave, leave a  comment below telling me what your goal(s) for 2014 consisted of and how you did.

Ok, I’ll go first… My goals for 2014 were the following:

1. Master Olympic Lifts – Started learning various lifts and by April, I made a hard left and got into Powerlifting.  I entered and won my very first Powerlifting meet in July.  Great experience.  Can’t wait to do another one next year.

2. Improve Cardiovascular Endurance – Made noticeable/measurable improvements so that can be marked off as COMPLETED!

3. Earn Nutrition Certification – Still in the process of studying.  I did not receive my course book and materials until the 2nd Quarter of the year, so I did have a slight disadvantage.  Plan is to complete this certification by the end of January 2015.

So, I was honest…. Are you honest with yourself?  I really would love to hear from you… you can leave comments in the comment section below or find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FitbyTiana

And before we say Goodbye to 2014…. I would like to wish you all a very

Happy New Year!

Categories
nutrition

Holiday Parties

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.

Categories
life

Keep Going

No matter how alone or afraid or helpless you might feel… If you have found yourself in a difficult place, you have to keep going.  There is light at the end of the tunnel and there is a way to get out of that tough situation… Never Give Up!!

Categories
training

Weight Training Rep Range

I would like to briefly explain my thought process behind a desired repetition range of an exercise/workout program.  If you are relatively new to weight training, you may find this helpful.

In your workout routine, for a specific exercise, the program calls for 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.  Before you even select a weight, think about what weights you have used for said exercise in the past.  Now, in a perfect comfortable world, you should be able to complete 4 sets of 10 repetitions with this weight.  But the idea here is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  The only way to grow is getting to that uncomfortable, challenging place, where you are going to struggle, grit your teeth, bite your tongue, possibly yell out loud and might need help.

My approach is as such… select a weight that starts to get difficult for you around the 6th rep, is very difficult at the 7th rep, and the remaining reps might not even be completed without a spot.  Of course you want to complete the number of sets listed in the workout, but you should be challenging yourself, which is what resistance training is all about, right?

If you are a beginner, you might want to hire a trainer to help you understand this concept and to push you accordingly, until you get accustomed to doing it on your own.

Try this mental approach the next time you’re in the gym.  Push yourself just a little further than you feel comfortable with… I bet you can complete the task at hand… DO IT!

Categories
life

Questions

What motivates you to wake up each day and do the things you do?

How will you make today better than yesterday?

Is happiness a choice for you or do you feel like it’s something you must seek out?

Do you have goals and if so, when was the last time you reviewed them or reset them?  Are you getting closer to them?

Do you live each day with a purpose?

What type of impact do you want to leave behind?

What will your legacy tell the world about you?

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Categories
life

Warrior of the Light – excerpt

A Warrior of the Light does not postpone making decisions.

He thinks a great deal before taking action. He considers his training, as well as his responsibilities and duties as a teacher. He tries to remain calm and to analyse each step as if it were of supreme importance.

However, as soon as he has made a decision, the Warrior proceeds: He has no doubts about his chosen action, nor does he change direction if circumstances turn out differently from how he had imagined them.

If his decision is correct, he will win the battle, even if it lasts longer than expected. If his decision is wrong, he will be defeated and he will have to start all over again-only this time with more wisdom.

But once he has started, a Warrior of the Light perseveres until the end.

~ Excerpt from the book Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho

Categories
life

Commit

Decide what you want

Commit to it

Budget for it (if you need to)

Stay focused on it

Keep moving forward

No distractions!

Categories
training

Power… Powerlifting

13 weeks ago, I decided to do something new.  A challenge… one I felt I needed in order to get over a huge mental, emotional and physical hump.

After the last Figure competition I did in November, my body was shot.  Adrenal fatigue settled in over the weeks leading up to the holidays.  It started with slight weight gain, insomnia, then exhaustion during the day, then loss of appetite, followed by slurred speech, stuttering, short-term memory loss, extremely dry skin, and severe water retention around my joints.  I was a walking mass of miserable-ness, working at a new gym, trying to build my business, all the while, I could barely piece sentences together because my brain had checked out.  It was like watching a movie.  I knew what was happening, yet, I couldn’t stop it.  Training became near impossible…. For starters, there was no way I was going to be able to lift anything considerable because I was falling asleep standing up… I also had no desire.  All I wanted to do for weeks at a time was lay down and sleep.  Not fun.

In April, I decided that the only way I was going to get myself out of this slump was by pushing myself.  I started going to a different gym, surrounded myself with new people, started training a different way… and after a few days (literally), I decided to take on this new challenge.  So I committed to training for this Powerlifting meet.  Having 17 years of weight training under my belt, the strength foundation I have is solid.  It’s all been a matter of learning technique, not backing down from heavy weight, and pushing myself beyond mental limits.

I’ve been criticized by many people, including some that were outright rude to my face or on my social media posts, telling me things like, “Oh, I guess you don’t want to try to lose weight anymore”… or “Stick with what you’re good at, you don’t want to be manly”… or “You’re gonna get a thick neck and waist and start looking like a man”… Nice supporters, huh?  Little do they know the private battle I deal with day in and day out… How every single day when it is time to  leave my house, getting dressed is a huge ordeal because I have no clue what clothes fit and what doesn’t.  How even now, since I’ve lost over 10 pounds during this prep, I still have moments when I see my reflection and it stings.

Figure competitors typically fluctuate in weight at least 10 pounds… some 15 and some even more than that (which I personally thing is not healthy)… but it is common.  I know what my personal goals are and quite frankly, it’s no one’s business!

What is great about these past 13 weeks for me is that I have shut a lot of people up.  The weights I throw around speak for themselves.  The incredible progress I have made in such a short time is outstanding and I am very proud of myself.  No, I’m not ripped up with striations in my shoulders or lower abs…. Guess what? I really don’t care…. Most women my age and size can’t touch me when it comes to strength and that is something that is not going away anytime soon.

I did this all while treating my body, working with a doctor, a nutritionist, my chiropractor and several friends to get myself back on track… For the first 45 days of this prep, I was on a detox and could not have anything with caffeine or stimulants in it. I also was on a restricted diet, eliminating foods that cause inflammation… and yet still, throwing around weights with the boys that had jaws on the floor.  The interesting part is, I don’t want to go back where I once was… been there, done that… I’m ready for new places, new discoveries, and a new comfortable happy place.

Powerlifting may not be the end all, be all for me, but it certainly will remain my training style for a long time to come.  I have incredible support behind me NOW and for the first time, I’m not too concerned about my abs showing or the tiny bit of fat on the back of my legs showing…. What a world of difference from Figure Shows!

As the meet draws closer, it’s in 3 days, I am remaining calm and focused on what I need to do.  It is so exciting to do something for the very first time.  I know this entry is rather long, but I’ve got a lot to say! Thanks for your time and I will be posting a Post-Meet Blog reflecting on the experience.

Thank You so much for your support!