I’m The Next YouTube Sensation

I like the exaggerated titles to my posts. It made you click on it….didn’t it?  😉

So I FINALLY shot some workout/exercise demo videos this weekend. I will be posting those as soon as they are edited but I would like to post them all at once instead of only as they are done. My goal is to do about 40 total. We shall see…

In the meantime I asked my friend/camerman to shoot me discussing my long term goal.  After watching it a few times I have come to a few conclusions:

1. Filming yourself and watching it back, no matter what size you are, will always end with “Well the camera DOES add 10 pounds.”

2. I used to cringe watching myself on camera or listening to myself talk…I STILL do, but I must have a case of “I just don’t care what anyone thinks” or I’m just finally getting old enough to realize this is who I am because I am over it.  A few years ago I would NOT have posted anything like this.

3. The double thumbs-up at the end is so cheesy that I think it’s actually cute.

Enjoy!

You’re Doing it Wrong: 5 Mistakes You Make in the Gym

gymmistakes

I recently observed a woman about my age at the gym recently who has been doing the same “routine” every time I’ve seen her. She always seems to manage to get the bench next to me in the weight room. And she always seems to be doing similar exercises at the same time I’m doing them. But that’s where the similarities stop.

I would say this woman is probably following a Tracey Anderson-type of workout, perhaps from that blonde idiot (sorry, not sorry) herself or maybe out of a magazine. Who knows, all I know is this woman looks like she needs help. Why? She lifts nothing higher than 10lb dumbbells. When she goes to the machines, she tends to do almost all of them and puts the pin in the top (lightest) weight. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to her routine. The amount of reps is more than 20 because I literally lose count any time I attempt to count how many reps she’s doing.

I vowed to myself that if I see her one more time, which would be the third, I would go over and attempt to help her. Because maybe she just doesn’t know….

Here are 5 things that I think people do wrong at the gym. And if you think you’re doing some of these, maybe this will help you because maybe you just don’t know either!

 

  • You go in without a plan. I’m talking no plan whatsoever – no sheet of paper, no notes on your phone, no workout journal, nothing. WHY?  You travel from machine to machine. Going through the motions, staring off into space, probably making your grocery list in your head because you don’t have a plan when you go there either. You’re here to workout, put some EFFORT into it, will ya? Don’t be Mr. or Miss Random. Get in, do the work, and get out. Get an actual program from someone who knows your goals and is knowledgeable and someone you trust. Preferably a personal trainer. (Want online training? I do that now too and I’ll have videos coming soon. Click here for more information) Magazine workouts are sub par for those on a budget. If you have sworn off hiring a PT, you should invest in one or two really good BOOKS with programs that you can follow. Here are two that I’m reading right now: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body. Obviously men wouldn’t purchase the latter recommendation although most ladies like a man with some a strong set of glutes on them. 😉  A couple other authors I really like are Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. Rachel put out one of my favorite books: The Female Body Breakthrough and her hubby Alwyn wrote what I consider the bible for women lifters: The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

Not a woman and want some recommendations? Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle mentioned above is appropriate for everyone but another good one –  The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle is geared towards men.

  • You have a routine…but it’s been the same routine for over a year. While there’s nothing wrong with being consistent, all of us could use a little update to our current programs. It doesn’t even have to be anything drastic with regards to the changes you’re making. But if what you are currently doing isn’t quite getting the job done, it’s time to update your ancient program. At the very least, you should be changing up the amount of reps or at least adding a more challenging weight. Repeat after me – Change is Good! I trained a woman recently who was doing the same program her old personal trainer had her on…3 years prior. She complained that nothing was changing at all and she was bored. No wonder! I’d be bored too if I did the same exercises day in and day out 3 years in a row too! When you can’t remember the last time you changed up the exercises in your current regiment, it’s time for an overhaul.
  • You don’t lift at all. Why are you even reading this blog? 😉  Seriously though, time to stop thinking you don’t need to lift in order to see results because I promise you, you do. Cardio will only get you so far. And no one is saying you have to lift super heavy. The woman at the gym I referenced earlier lifts nothing heavier than 10lbs. Based on appearance alone, I feel like she is MUCH stronger than that! I feel like there’s a little lion in there and it needs to roar, ha! She doesn’t seem like she has an injury that she’s recovering  from, her range of motion was fine. Perhaps she’s worried about getting “bulky.” Perhaps she doesn’t think she is CAPABLE of lifting that heavy. You have to start somewhere! You don’t need to grunt and sound like you are in pain everytime you lift…but you should look like you’re putting forth some effort to get those weights up. This is the only way you will see change. You. Need. To. Lift. Even if it’s your own bodyweight.
  • You have no idea about pre and post workout nutrition. I don’t care if you’re going for fat loss or muscle gain or maintenance – Anyone who works out knows that the best snack is your PWO snack (Post WorkOut). This is the time when you can enjoy the benefits of working up a sweat and repair those muscles. EAT your Carbs! Drink your Protein Shake! This is the BEST time to eat. I make sure I eat within 30 minutes of finishing up my workout. When I was training for my competition it would not be unusual for me to be eating my snack the MOMENT I finished my last rep, walking out the door of the gym, scarfing down that Pop-Tart or fruit snacks like they were my last meal. It was glorious! As for pre-workout, some people can get away without eating anything and still getting a good lift on but at the very least, you need to ingest some BCAA’s so you have some energy.
  • You don’t know what tempo means. I was guilty of this as well. I would get a good pump going on at the gym and go home and it was fine. But once I started getting coaching from Erik at LBC, and he instructed me on tempo when lifting, it was a game changer for me. I finally started seeing significant change in my physique. I finally started feeling a little sore too, which wasn’t a bad thing. Most of all, I FELT the muscles in my body working. You not only have to visualize your muscles working, you have to slow everything down and concentrate on the motion. Only then do you really appreciate what a machine your body is truly capable of being. Stop being in a such a rush when you lift. It just looks plain silly. Like this poor fella.

 

Peak Week Jitters

This week began what’s called Peak Week for me, the week of the competition.

My plan from Coach Ben was not such a big difference when I first looked at it.  The one big thing was that I got to do cardio!  I even sent him a message saying how I was kind of excited at the thought of doing HIIT training the next morning in addition to my usual weight training.

Hey guess what I realized very quickly the next day???  I don’t miss cardio.

Considering that I had done my weight training and then an hour of cardio afterwards for a grand total of almost two hours at the gym, I was TOAST.  It was great to work up a huge sweat like that but I cannot believe people voluntarily go to the gym and workout for that long on a regular basis.  Hell, I can’t believe I used to RUN (okay JOG) for that long and even longer when I trained for my half and full marathons.  No Thanks!

I only have one more cardio session on Thursday morning and that will be it.

The other big change for me is staying at my low-carb amount for longer than I’m used to.  I used to switch off (kind of like carb cycling) with high carb and low carb days.  Well, today marks day number 4 of low carb.  Let me tell ya, I’m not used to this.  I was very foggy on Monday morning after my workout and I was kind of out of it again this morning with my client.  But, it went away after awhile and although I like telling people “Oh yeah, it’s my lack of carbs, that’s why I forgot (insert ditzy mistake here).”  It makes for a really good excuse but I can’t help but wonder that it’s just because I’m having more than my usual blonde moments. 🙂

Tomorrow I can only drink water…no more crystal light crap or my energy drinks (yes, I became addicted to some of them i’m ashamed to say).  But I can do this…I survived most of my adult life without them, I can certainly handle a few more days of not having them.

Then Friday…..The FUN begins.  I get to carbo load.  And omg I’m SOOOO looking forward to that.

Prepare for a slew of Instagram pics of all my carbo loaded meals.  Nom Nom Nom!!

Possibly one more update before the show.

In the meantime, here are some shots from the posing seminar I attended two weeks ago with some fantastic ladies who I may be competing with.

Top is a little low...oops.
Top is a little low…oops.

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I say “with” and not “against.”  I feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow figure gals.  Especially the ones who are like me, having never done this before.  Cannot wait to hang backstage and get to know them better.

Off to bed…One more update coming your way Thursday…maybe a quick one on Friday.

-Michelle

 

 

 

Quick Update

I’m 14…er…13 days…well, actually, make that 12 days out if you don’t count today since it’s almost over…Yikes!!!

Things that are done:

  • Registered for the show
  • Posing seminar/dress rehearsal
  • Suit ordered and fits perfectly
  • Tanning booked
  • Photo shoot booked
  • Make up person booked
  • Tickets for family purchased

Things still to do:

  • Get the hair done/scheduled for the morning of the show
  • Get some cheap bling (I think I see a trip to Claire’s in my future)
  • Schedule mani/pedi

As for the diet, Coach Ben says I’m in the best position possible considering he’s adding food to my plan.  YAY for more carbs!

Here are some pics I took last night; I still have to work on the posing and I’m sure it will not be 100% by the time I hit the stage but I’m okay with that.

14 days out!
14 days out!

Now I must go to bed because I got up way early this morning and if I stay up any longer I will be tempted to raid the cupboards.  And I can only eat so much Jell-O (gelatin) in one sitting…I think my new record is 4 cups in one day.  Yeah I don’t think any human being should eat that much.  It’s just plain wrong. 🙂

Good night!  Next update from me will be just 6 days out.  Unbelievable!

Missing Mother

“How are you doing?”

When I get asked that question lately the subject always goes to the competition.  Always.  And I’m not tired of talking about it….yet.

Everyone wants to know what I’m doing, what I’m eating, how I’m working out, how do I stay on track, who’s your coach, how many weeks left, where is it, how much are tickets, what time will you be on stage???  The questions keep coming and I keep answering them with a smile on face, eager to share all the exciting news and information.

But when I’m alone, and no one is asking how I’m doing, I think about Mom.  I think it’s normal to think of her, especially when it’s quiet, when there’s not much going on.  OR when you’re counting down the hours until your next meal. 😉

But, unfortunately, the more I think about her, the more I miss her.  The more I miss her, the more upset I get.   And I get upset when I realize how much she’s missing out on.

She’s not here to watch me practice in my heels traipsing around the house in my bikini practicing my posing.

She’s not here to see me cook and prep my food and perhaps ask for a taste of something for herself.

She’s not here to take my progress photo’s and tell me my bikini is crooked or my hair is a little bit off.

She’s not here to tell me what she thinks about my ideas for the website or the book I want to write someday or the team I want to build after this is over.

She’s not here to tell me what kind of jewelry I should wear for the competition or how I should do my hair or what color my suit I would look best in.

She’s not here now and she won’t be there in October and she won’t be around to celebrate when it’s done.

And it sucks.

It’ll be the first of many “She’s not here” moments and there are going to plenty afterwards.  There have been many already.

But I do pray that on that day I feel her around me, cheering me on, whispering in my ear to keep going, to not be nervous, to do my best.

I hope and pray she’ll be there.  In the audience, smiling and beaming, proud and happy for her daughter.

 

 

Build-a-Butt

Get it?? Like Build-a-Bear….but it’s Build-a-Butt.

That’s funny isn’t it?!  Or maybe I just find silly titles like that humorous.   Moving along…

I survived my first posing seminar this past weekend!  Woohoo! And by surviving I mean I didn’t fall down in my stripper shoes.  That’s a victory in itself.

If you consider my competition the SHOW, you can consider this the dress rehearsal…kind of.  Only with a lot less people…and no spray tans…and no make up or big hair….and no judges. ..okay so it’s not a dress rehearsal at all.

It’s a scrimmage. Yes, a scrimmage would be a much more appropriate description.

I met some amazing looking women like Beth (@SansPantsGirl) and Callista (@StillaLandShark) with matching amazing personalities.  You couldn’t help but size up the competition but what was great is that we were all in the same boat – feeling like we perhaps didn’t belong.  All of us (as I found out later) are first time competitors.  I was shaking in my stripper shoes from the get go, not quite sure how to maneuver in these ginormous heels.

The seminar itself was great – I learned a lot from Chuck and Melissa who are both trainers and have competed several times.  Just watching them give cues I was in awe.  They are both BIG little people.  Big physiques, shorter in stature.  Like you just wanted one of them to bench press you just because you knew they probably could, ha!  (See picture – I’m sure you can tell who they are just by this description).  1071422_496548897099482_1186154786_o

As for the poses themselves – here are some visuals to help you understand just what I was doing on Saturday afternoon and the advice I was given:

frontpose

FRONT POSE:  I feel like I’m trying to be the Hulk in this pose.  You have to give the impression of size, specifically, that you have some.  And not just with this pose, with all of them.  But this is your first one that the judges see.   I’m still “under construction” so I’m not as large as I would like to be.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t exaggerate and fake it in the meantime.  You’re not supposed to suck in the gut either – it’s more of an elevation of your ribcage.  You also want the judges to see your lats on this pose.  See how you can see that muscle underneath/behind this woman’s armpits?  Yeah, you want to be able to SEE those.  NOT EASY.

backpose

BACK POSE:  This is the most painful pose, in my opinion.  I had a very hard time with this one.  I kept putting my arms out too far and not flexing my back correctly.  I was told by one competitor a couple weeks ago that when you get it right you have to remember how it FEELS, especially since you can’t see yourself.  So, I’ll be recording this one for sure.

sidepose

SIDE POSE:  I wasn’t too bad with this one although I have to remember to stick the butt out and create a curve with the back/tailbone.  Oh and my hands..hand placement is very important with all of these.  Hands have to be relaxed and again, it’s al ot easier said than done.

relaxedsidepose

SIDE RELAXED POSE:  There is nothing RELAXING about this pose.  Of course I had to post a pic of my girl Nicole Wilkins for this one.   See how the front foot is so close to the other foot and it’s pointed?  You have no idea how much that HURTS when you are not accustomed to wearing heels. I was dying in this pose.  Plus I kept forgetting to twist myself so the judges would be able to see me.  This is also the pose you hold while everyone else is on the stage doing their poses.  So it’s imperative you master it (keep smiling keep smiling keep smiling) so you can stay in it for a long period of time. 

Some other bits of advice given to me throughout the seminar:

“Get your butt up…you have no butt so you have to create the illusion that you have one.”

“Relax your back..don’t let your blades jut out.”

“Point your toes as you walk…don’t let your knees bend so much.”

“Stick that butt out.”

Can you tell I need to work on sticking my butt out? 🙂

All in all it made for one very uncomfortable afternoon – but that was the point.  These poses aren’t necessarily comfortable or relaxed in any way.  You are literally shaking (at least I was) as you stand there trying to recall all the pointers that were given to you.  I can only imagine on Competition day what will be going through my head as I pose in front of the judges…”Make eye contact. …Smile…Relax the shoulders…Keep smiling…Hands in front…Butt out  But out…Butt out!!!”

In the meantime it’s practice practice practice.  I actually wear the heels while I do housework as often as I can.  And since I rarely do housework, this is not a common occurrence.  But hey, if it gets me to load the dishwasher and do laundry more often, it’s a win-win situation right?

In the meantime, we got 10 weeks!  The countdown continues.

-Michelle

Tweet of the Week:  Courtesy of MeNote to Gen Pop: “Glad you’re doing well but you’re wasting away to nothing!” is what is defined as a Backhanded Compliment. #StopIt

Sometimes I can’t believe the nerve people have to tell you to your face what they think you look like.  And even after it’s explained that I’m happy and this is for a purpose (i.e. a show) I was told “That’s great! Good for you!  But you’re still wasting to nothing.”   Hey thanks random person!  You’re just fueling my fire to keep this going!

Mid-Week Mentality

 

I'm not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.
I’m not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.

I’ve been venting discussing with a few people how it’s been a mental game lately, this past week in particular with regards to staying on track with the diet.

I was not at 100% adherence (sidenote – that sounds so OFFICIAL doesn’t it?)  this past week unfortunately and although I don’t feel like I failed, I realize it’s a mental game now.  At first it was fun and it still is….but all of a sudden I would say it’s getting serious.  The diet is not so much restrictive as much as it’s challenging to stick to. 

The most difficult times for me occur when I’m off work in the middle of the week.   My mid-week SUCKS.   Weekends are pretty easy.   Which is odd because I feel like everyone talks about how weekends cause them to get off track.  For me it’s the opposite.  Weekends are super easy probably because I’m not awake for as long on those days.  The more sleep I get, the less time I have to cheat.  Unless I master sleep-walk-eating.  Which would be kinda awesome .

As for Monday and Tuesday, I would classify them as a medium level of difficulty.

Wednesday hits and look out!  It’s like a light switch goes off and all of a sudden I’m STARVING and everything looks good and I  stare into the cupboards and the fridge fighting with myself saying (sometimes out loud because no one is home)  “Okay so just one of THOSE or a tablespoon of THAT or just an ounce of THIS couldn’t possibly be so bad.”

Didn’t I make a big post about this a few months ago?  BLT’s! Bites Licks and Tastes = Add up = Leads to Binge = Hard Work Out the Window.

So here’s the game plan for Wednesdays:   Check-in with my coach.  Simple? Yes.  Effective?  Highly.  It’s probably just going to be a quick shout to tell him I was at 100%.  If I know someone is on the other end waiting for that email, I think I might do better. 

By the way, feel free to comment/email/text me on Wednesdays to find out how I’m doing.  It helps to have people, even complete strangers, check-in with me.  I did it the other day on someone’s Facebook Page.  They hadn’t posted in over a week so I posted a question to them on their “wall” and lo and behold it helped him.   Even though the dude doesn’t have a clue who I am, just the fact that I asked him how he was doing made a small difference.

Yeah it might be short-lived but it’s something to get through the day. 

I also got some good advice from my co-worker today.  She said:  Don’t think of it as 11 weeks to go or even 6 months in…think of it as Starting from Day 1.  Today you’re starting from the beginning.

Starting anew.  Maybe it sounds too much like “I’ll start Monday” mentality but it’s not.  Even though I’ve been on Ben’s plan for 10 weeks, and training for 9 months, I shouldn’t think of all the time that I’ve spent working and focus more on this point moving forward.  That way it’s like a fresh start every week.

I like that mentality a lot more than thinking “Oh my gosh I can’t believe I have to do this for 11 more weeks.”

It should be “Oh YES, I have 11 more weeks to work on this!” 

And even my coach phrased it well to me yesterday:  “You can make the most out of these next 11 weeks or you can just get through it.” 

I think I’m going to try to make the most of it.  Just getting through it sounds like Just Getting By and that sounds like no fun.  

FREE STUFF!!!!!

On a somewhat unrelated note, I will be providing some free t-shirts for my “Fans” to wear to the show on October 5th.  Family gets first dibs and then if there are extra and you are coming, you’ll get a shirt that you MUST wear that day.

It will look cool, trust me.  The goal is to get a big picture of myself with all my supporters that day.  For all those who have supported me, a t-shirt is the least I can do to repay you. 🙂

Also – I reserve the right to change my mind and charge a small fee for the shirts because…ummm….just because. 🙂

Okay 11 weeks:  Here. We. Go.

 -Michelle

Random Tweet of the Week courtesy of @jadeteta 

“What’s the deal with these ridiculous selfies? How bout take a picture of yourself helping someone? #helpies #dosomethinguseful”

I couldn’t agree more!