To Compete or Not to Compete

I’ve gotten through the hardest part of this prep. It’s been 5.5 weeks of training THROUGH Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 

But I sit here on Monday, January 2nd with second thoughts. Why on earth would I look back now when I have just 6.5 weeks left (almost HALF way), and this second half will be tough no doubt but without the strain of the holidays goodies and get-togethers. 

What happened today of all days that I hit a weakness and wanted to give up? Today that itch is really scratching and it’s making me nervous.

My first mistake was this morning when I dug through all my pictures from my first show (last year). I placed second in the Open Figure. Just one place shy of getting my Pro card on my first show. It was until that moment on stage that I told myself I’d never do it again.

After the show I found myself looking at my stage self and wishing my shoulders were more defined, I had more veins popping, etc… I should have been more than happy with it. But all I was, was critical of my hard earned physique that got me second place.

So, this morning, after getting up at the usual 4:20am for the weight training and cardio session, I tore through photos and started comparing my “6 weeks out” photos from then and now. Nothing different. In fact, I must’ve been feeling pretty miserable because I actually thought I looked less ready this time, this far out when all this time I felt I had a head start. (??) 

In these moments, I asked myself (AGAIN), what I was getting out of competing? If I’m going to look exactly how I looked the first time… then what’s the point? I certainly don’t have the adrenaline of doing my first show lighting my way. If I could walk off stage last time as critical as I was… and I was in the same boat right now… what’s the point of all the misery?

So why did the idea of doing a second competition come about? I had mentioned competing one more time because of getting that close to a pro card. But the idea was to do it in the SPRING. But as I looked up shows for the Spring, I saw one for Feb 18th (OCB). I shook my head at it because it was during the holidays and you have to be NUTS to give up your happiness (ahem, Buckeyes, neighbor Gene’s coffee cake, Jim and Mary’s cooking😳)… for a show?! No thanks!!!

Then one morning my husband comes home from working a 12 hr night shift. Somehow he pulls energy out of nowhere and wants to work out! He’s so pumped he tells me he wants to do the Feb 18th show and to tell my coach RIGHT NOW so we could get on board the gain trainnnn! 😂oh boy. He hadn’t done a show before and I got excited he was wanting to do one with me. It can’t be that bad if we do it together right? Which means a spotter! And no distracting treats in the house! Yesss! 4 to 6 days later, he threw in the towel because he was told to consume 4 times the amount of food he was used to and it was physically making him ill. I wish I had that same prescription (or do I? I’m not sure). But regardless, I don’t blame him AT ALL. 

So see… at this point, I don’t want to disappoint my coach I used the first time around. Kenny (my coach) had just earned his PRO card THAT weekend and he was willing (and super excited!) to work with me again and I didn’t want for both of us to up and quit his already worked up plan. So I stayed the coarse. 

Not because I wanted to be on stage, or win a pro card, or have that “figure physique” for like a week… but because I didn’t want to be a quitter. 

I cannot believe I’ve gotten this far based off of my motivation being truly 80% “not wanting to be a quitter.” It’s borderline insane. If it weren’t for a refeed on Christmas… 🤤(THANK GOD) I truly don’t know if I would have made it this far.

SECONDLY, nothing good comes from establishing a poor relationship with food. I now remember who I was back in my first prep. I now remember why I said in the weeks leading up to the show that I’d never do one ever again. I hate that I want all the things I can’t eat so badly when I never wanted them before prep. It’s about to get real scary post show. Pray for me 😜.

THIRDLY, I’ve already said this briefly but I feel the need to reiterate… if I was going to quit, it should have been during the HOLIDAYS!! 😡😡😡

So here I am. I’m thinking because I’ve had the last four days off of work to be surrounded by these devilish foods without a distraction, that I’m at my tipping point. 

I told myself I’ll wait until the end of the week once I’m back to crushing it at work and in my distraction filled routine, to see if I still feel the same.

I hate quitting. I know I can do this. I would be crushing the training regardless. There’s just something about the drag of food owning you, your time and your happiness. I feel so selfish. I’m promising myself right here that I will never do another show. And I make that promise even if I snatch up a Pro Card. 

Any other blog post I would normally share would be filled with motivation, and words of mental toughness. But let’s be real… we all feel really weak sometimes. Sometimes we need to re-evaluate why we do the things we do. Why so much pressure? Who’s putting on the pressure. We can’t live in pure comfort because you get no where fast with a plan like that. But on occasion, we all need to release our inner turmoil. Thanks for reading! Means a lot! 😉

Cheers 

-BnG-

    Day Zero – Don’t Wait Until You’re Ready.

    I like to think that in terms of blog posts, quality is better than quantity. So I ponder, I wait, I brainstorm and then BAM… come up with something “worthy” of a blog post and then roll with it. But recently I’ve hit a bit of a blog-post-wall. It doesn’t help that I’ve been a bit distracted as I’ve finally made THE decision to compete in my very first fitness competition! And since I’m so excited,  I’m just going to type away.

    Let’s take this post back to 2009. The below pictures are of my military sister, BriAnne Forrester, and I at a deployed location. I introduce her because she’s a beast and has always been my sister-in-arms. In fact, we started training together while deployed and got our first unassisted pull-up together! I can’t tell you how obsessed we were with fitness during deployments. It’s just the thing to do (sand sprints, 10K at 6am in 110 degree heat, 4:30am workouts after three hours of sleep, deadlift competitions. hard boiled egg eating competitions…Ah, those were the good ol’ days). Care packages with the Oxygen Magazine (and peanut butter, thank God!) would show up occasionally and we would snatch that thing up so fast. As we turned the pages, we just dreamed of having those shoulders, that physique, those abs. This deployment was our first, and it was a catapult into a new way of fitness. With the help of professional bodybuilder Chief Master Sergeant Troy Saunders, we were introduced to muscle gaining. Since then, I’ve wanted to compete but never had the guts and never thought I was quite “ready”.

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    The above pictures are from 2009 of Bri, Troy and I. We had always loved athletics and keeping “in shape”, but that deployment was sort of the portal to the next level for us. I can’t stop laughing at how we looked like little babies. =) But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And this is when we started to go from “skinny athletic” to seeing some musculature forming.

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    MSgt BriAnne Forrester – 2015 2nd Place Figure Novice

    (Her first competition)

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    CMSgt Troy Saunders

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    BriAnne and I have always paved the way for each other. What she gets into, I do, and vice versa. We’ve been known to “one-up each other” in a healthy competitive way. She constantly challenges herself and inspires me everyday. She’s encouraged me to step it up and finally compete as well. At some point you have to say “ENOUGH” with not feeling “READY.” Of course you’re never ready. If you wait until your ready, the day will never come. She gave me her trainer’s information a while back, but one morning last week I woke for the gym at that 4:45am mark and said to myself “WHAT AM I DOING?” I have the discipline. I can refrain from certain foods with the best of them. What am I waiting for!? It’s NOW or NEVER!!

    Example of the Figure Competitor Body:

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    Tomorrow I receive my first week’s diet plan and training regimen from #teamswiftathletics. Please come along with me on this journey. I’ll post 1-2 times/weekly with updates under “Challenges/Events” in my website. I can’t thank you all enough for your endless support. The below photos are Day-0. We are 11 weeks out from the competition on Sept 26th in Atlanta, GA. My coach has promised a “Championship Figure Physique”. Let’s get this ball rolling and see what we can do, shall we?!?

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    – BnG – 

    Heavy Lifts and Fit Chicks

    There I was, just finishing the day’s chores, helping load the last boards into the fireplace to heat our farm house with my Stepdad. I stood proudly up on the brick fireplace base and decided to show off my 8 year old calf muscles by doing calf raises. He applauded me, saying, “Very nice. You’re so strong!” Then handed me some wood to hold for extra resistance, “now try this.” That small line of encouragement stayed with me.

    I soon caught myself in my parents’ bathroom with my abdomen exposed trying to flex and see a six-pack after a long day of loading/breaking/hauling pallets for firewood, helping mow 7 acres of grass and cleaning the goat stalls with my sister. Probably dehydrated a bit, I noticed for the first time… abdominal muscles… and I liked it. Mom says, “Wow, nice job Dee. See, hard work pays off.” Another moment that stuck with me.

    Back then, it wasn’t AS normal for little girls to want to grow up with muscles. Recently, especially with the Crossfit trend, I’ve noticed an influx in little girls being encouraged by female athletes and fitness models to embrace and embody STRENGTH. Of course, for decades, women have hard charged the long endurance sports but the muscular development community was heavily lagging. But not anymore. Let’s talk a little bit about how awesome this is, that little girls now are inspired on the daily.

    The benefits of heavy lifting for your fine female body:

    Curves! Doing endurance/cardio work burn fat. But, the long calorie expenditure tends to wipe out fat stores and muscular tissue. Leaving those hard working muscles a little slim and… well, let’s be honest… flat and long. Heavy weightlifting allows those short twitch muscles to round out a bit and cuuuuuurve. Va-va-vooooom. Here comes that perky, round backside ladies! Not to mention some nice rounded shoulders and some broader lats to off-set our naturally wide hips!

    Beyond looks, heavy weight training is more effective for fat loss. Cardiovascular health is important, but if fat loss is your goal, you need to listen up. After a heavy lifting session, your body continues to burn fat for 24+ hours. You see, your body is craving more oxygen through this recovery process and is a fat burning machine! Steady-state cardio burns calories in the time period in which you are performing that exercise.

    The more muscle mass, the more calorie expenditure. Have you ever wondered why your husband, boyfriend or male co-worker can slip in that cheat meal much more often than you? It’s because of their muscle mass. Naturally, muscle burns more than… fat. Okay, that’s a duh. But if you’re spending all your waking time running and cycling, your fat storage is gone and your thighs aren’t touching (eye-roll)! Yes. But now those cardio events are just burning right through muscle. You’ve just created a disastrous situation. The next time you take in a cheat meal, your butt with thank you and store that baby ASAP. Do yourself a favor and gain some muscle mass. Then, eat that cheat meal occasionally and watch it not even come close to affecting your physique.

    Sleep, energy and balance comes with the heavy training. Heavy training promotes Growth Hormone to run sky high when you’re sleeping. This recovery process will have you dead-tired (not tossing and turning all night). I know personally, that in the past, when I did too much cardiovascular training I felt restless, achy and hot all night. Now I wake up rested and ready for the next session. Energy goes without explaining – HELLO ENDORPHINS and DOPAMINE. Soon, you’ll be smiling your way through your day.

    Heart Health. Heart disease is one of our nation’s leading killers. Your heart is the biggest badass in your body. Hard to believe an organ can withstand all the crap/stress we put it through! Heavy weight training, is an added stress but in a good way. Lifting is a sort of interval training where your heart has to adapt to forceful output and rest/recovery…on repeat. In adaptation, the heart starts to beat less heavily with the effort and significantly lowers your “resting” blood pressure”. All of a sudden, taking the stairs doesn’t even raise your heart rate. Score!

    Bone Health. Resistance training is THE MOST EFFECTIVE preventative measure to osteoporosis. In the female body, post menopausal women are at high risk of osteoporosis due to a lack of estrogen production. In this state, women are much better off if they had a weight training background. Resistance training forces an increase in bone density. Leaving us less likely to have breaks, weak joints and bone pain as we age. Double Score!

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    Now all those sounds nice, right!? So the next time you hear your girlfriend say…

    “But it’ll make me bulky. Isn’t it bad for your joints? I won’t be able to find clothes to fit. I hate how those Crossfit chicks look. I don’t want big thighs. I just don’t feel comfortable going into the guy’s side of the gym. I don’t even know how to start.”

    SLAP HER. Then guide her to this Webpost. =)

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    How to START:

    3 Days / Week, Hit Major Lifts:

    Monday = Deadlifts and Pullups (assisted machine). Done.

    Wednesday = Bench Press and Dips (assisted machine). Done.

    Friday = Squats and lunges. Done.

    ^^^^^ So that’s where you start! Easy peasy. Don’t slip anything else in there or get overwhelmed by those other machines (or all the men grunting near the dumbbells). Walk in there, own your space, zone in and get after it! Cheers – to gains!

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    – BnG –

    Swimming is ____________.

    If you’re always the best person on the court, you’re getting worse every time you play.

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    If you’re like me, you can easily fill in the above space with any of the following:

    • horrible.
    • the worst kind of cardio out there.
    • only nice if it’s relaxing or associated with the beach and a cold drink.
    • for others, not me.
    • for high school kids.
    • prettier from afar.
    • fun when it’s a gentle breaststroke.
    • a necessity on cruise vacations when you want to go play on those big floating blow up things.

    Needless to say, I only swam when I had to. It doesn’t help when you’re thalassophobic (fear of the ocean). Also, anyone who can relate to being flipped off numerous intertubes at water parks growing up can feel my pain. But as an adult, is it time to jump this life long hurdle? If you haven’t read my first post Done is Better Than Perfect, then you must know I’m all in for trying new things. What does it hurt?

     It helps when you know someone with gills. My husband, was a state freestyle competitor in high school and after discussing the perks of swimming (post-surgery), he had us signed up at the YMCA in no time. 

    • Step 1: Face in water 
    • Step 2: Choose a side to inhale 
    • Step 3: The paddle board is your friend 
    • Step 4: He states “Are you ready?” I respond, “For what?” He states in his most Karate Kid Movie voice, “To get better?” 
    • Step 5: 10×50 at 2:00 …. ?!?! I had no idea what this meant but basically we freestyle swam 50 meters x 10 times, at 2 minute cycles. Never have my lungs & lats burnt like this and supposedly there was a 45 second rest between sets(??). 
    • Step 6: Get divorced. Hah – just kidding. But seriously. 
    • Step 7: Endorphin rush on the car ride home. Thanks babe! (What a head trip).

    I post this simply because I’ve learned something over just 5 sessions in the water:

    • I am worthy of a lap lane. 
    • You have to trust the person who knows you have it in you. 
    • You have to get comfortable with uncomfortable. 

    Most importantly, when you have a competitive spirit, let it guide you into new avenues. It’s ok to be the best or an expert at certain things, but not at the cost of never attempting something you’re scared of.

    – BnG