March 17, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I am a week behind in my Emerald Cup posts. But that’s okay. Because really, how much muscle talk could you really want to hear? More importantly, I have literally lost my words. With the exception of the hours that I spend training my clients each week, I have gone practically mute. I just have nothing to say. Under normal circumstances, I fancy myself a witty gal—not so much right now. I am going to do my best to organize this post in some fashion that doesn’t resemble a rambling diatribe, but no promises. Here we go…
The last two weeks have been positive in many respects. First, I have seen tremendous changes in my body. It has become the craziest science experiment I have ever been a part of. Every morning I notice something different…a bigger muscle, a more defined cut, or a muscle that I didn’t even know I had. The other morning the phrase, “So THAT’S what the serratus anterior looks like…” could be heard from my bathroom. I have been playing with my carbohydrate intake and it’s been fascinating for me to see what my body likes best. In case you care, as it turns out, my body is dropping fat quicker with a “moderate” carb intake (around 40 grams per day—which in a normal world is really low). I tried going 3 days SUPER low (less than 25 g) and one day high (around 100 g), but it seems that my body didn’t like this formula quite as much. Perhaps if I plateau with the current technique, I will try the low-high cycling again, but for now, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.
The changes that I am seeing are incredibly rewarding. Sometimes it’s a little surreal to look in the mirror and see the body in the reflection. It is by no means perfect or where I want it to be for show time, but it’s getting there, and it makes me really proud to know that I have earned every single one of those muscles through HOURS of sweat.
Speaking of hours, have I mentioned how time-consuming this little adventure is? Anyone who has ever competed before can attest to the mind-boggling amount of time you spend preparing your body for it’s big debut…between the workouts and the dieting, it’s bananas! During my normal life, it’s not unusual for me spend upwards of 2 to 3 hours working out, but not EVERY single DAY. This process has forced me to make a schedule for myself and follow it—which I despise, by the way. Admittedly, I am still not following my workout schedule to the letter, because some days I improvise and do more or lift a different body group if I am feeling sore, but the life schedule I set out at the beginning of the week MUST be followed or else things just don’t get done.
I wake up at 4:30am and don’t stop until 6pm. Even at 6pm, I haven’t really stopped because I usually have client workouts to prepare for the following day, dinner to throw together for myself and my husband (who is NOT following the muscle-princess meal plan), and I have to prepare my gym bag for the following day so I don’t have to make a trip home in between training clients and the gym. Gym bag—sounds simple, right? Nope. It means that I have to remember two changes of clothing (one I will work out in and one I will not), a regular water bottle with water, a water bottle with my amino acids, and a blender bottle with my protein. Not done yet—don’t forget the Tupperware container with the perfectly portioned food that I will eat in the car at some time between clients and before my workout. I am trying to squeeze a cat nap in here and there when I have the chance, usually so I can muster up some energy for my second workout, but it only happens a couple times a week. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! Not that I am complaining. This is all just to say that I am pretty much ALL work and NO play these days. Sadly, I don’t even have the desire to play right now. I sort of just want to put my head down and make a beeline for the finish.
I have learned very quickly that it is one thing to sit there and say, “I could do that…” It is another thing to actually do it. The other morning, I was doing some thinking and I was comparing this experience to the marathons and triathlons that I have done in the past. This competition DEFINITELY takes the cake in terms of difficulty and I will tell you why—the days, nights, and sheer number of hours that I will have spent training and preparing for this are miniscule compared to the amount of time that I will actually spend on stage, which is a strange thing to realize.
When training for marathons and triathlons, sure, you spend a ton of hours training, and you do yourself a major favor by following a clean diet, but they don’t require nearly the type of Spartan lifestyle that a figure competition does. In addition, those events aren’t over in the blink of an eye, nor are the results subjective. Your fate is in your own hands, not the hands of a panel of judges. It’s a little unnerving to spend so many hours of your life preparing for someone else to decide how well you did. I am trying to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how I place, it’s all about making it on stage and not passing out….but still. Marathons and triathlons are about getting out there and doing better than you did last time. Trying to beat your previous time…trying to avoid the inevitable mental meltdown at mile 20…just trying to find fun in the pain. When I think back to my marathons, I feel like each one lasted for days (this where my friend, Michael would say, “Well it took you 4 HOURS to finish, so they practically were days 🙂 ) I have memories from various points on the course, because each one was an emotional journey.
I have started to liken this preparation process to a marathon. Some days I wake up and feel awesome, like I typically do at mile 10. Like a well-oiled machine. Only the cleanest foods enter the machine and then the machine does work. The machine throws around heavy weights like feathers. The machine runs at high speeds and up steep hills without breathing heavy. The machine feels strong. Other days I wake up and want to cry like I typically do at mile 20. I don’t feel like a machine. I feel like a shrinking violet. I’m tired and sad and hungry for something other than what’s in my kitchen. But those are the days where I have to find FUN in the PAIN. I get on Spotify and look for a new song to get me through my workout. I peruse the internet to try and find another way to prepare my steel-cut oats, or I day dream about the bars and restaurants that I am going to drag my family and friends to after the competition.
As you can see, I am on a bit of an emotional roller coaster right now. Some days are easier than others. I’m looking forward to the challenges that next week will bring… 7 weeks to go!
NOTE: The photos are actually 8 days old now. Which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it’s crazy how fast things are changing right now. Since I can only handle these silly self-portraits every couple of weeks, you’ll just have to wait until next time for the up-to-date stuff. 🙂