The Win That Almost Wasn’t

sprayHave you ever tried so hard to accomplish something and then due to someone else’s actions, what you worked so hard for was almost ruined? Well, remember when I told you that I won 1st place the November contest…? Well it almost didn’t happen.

Normally, shows begin around 9 or 10am which means I usually get my spray tan done the day before the show. It is a pain in the ass because you can’t wear anything tight, no one can touch you and you have to sleep like a starfish. Perhaps some skin types take the tan better, but my skin is notorious for repelling the tan.

Things were a little different for the November show. The show was to begin at 6pm so I figured I had plenty of time to get my tan done the day of. I scheduled the tan for 11am and when the time came, off I went. Here is where the trouble began…

The lady who owns the spray tan salon and who normally does my tan was on maternity leave. This is of course perfectly acceptable. However, if you are going to continue to take my business, I expect that I will receive the same service. I don’t know where the owner found this girl but she must have been still in high school and clearly had never done a competition spray tan before. Let me stress that a competition spray tan is very different than a regular spray tan.

Feeling scepticism yet hopefully optimistic, I stripped down and prayed for a good outcome. I was right to feel scepticism… I kept telling her that the tan needed to be darker, darker, darker. She called the owner several times yet the result was not what I needed it to be. Clearly this girl was missing a step. I can’t necessarily blame her as the owner left her ill prepared. She lathered me with coat after coat and it got to a point where if she put anymore on, it would just be dripping.

As I stood naked in the room to dry, the lack of heat was almost unbearable. I asked if there was anything that could be done to warm the space but junior mint told replied with a “no”. As the tan dries and I begin to freeze to death, I look at myself in the mirror and almost shit a brick. This is not acceptable.

When dry, I went to the front desk. Not only am I extremely unhappy with the tan but I also find out that the rates have been raised. I tell her to call the owner and demand a reduced rate as I am extremely unhappy. The owner tells junior mint that the spray tan costs more and the full balance is due. Thinking back, I should have fought harder because I paid for a spray tan but did NOT receive one.

By the time I got home, the tan around my hips was smudged terribly and it was way too light to step on stage. I began to ball my eyes out and proceeded to create racoon eyes as the tan around my eyes was washed away. Keep in mind that she show is just hours away at this point.

I call a different salon that tells me to shower the previous tan off and then they will redo it. Feeling somewhat less stressed, I shower and rush over.

I strip down and the tanning process begins. And ends… Oops there is not enough formula. What…the…hell…am…I…supposed…to…do?

Feeling bad for me, this new salon calls another salon and makes an emergency appointment for me. I rush over and finally I am at ease. The tan is dark, the tan is even, the tan is competition worthy!

As I stand drying in a nice warm room, I am excited about my great tan but that is not the only thing to consider. As it approaches 4pm, I still have not done my hair or makeup and we still have to consider driving time… F.

Once dry, I rush home. The makeup ends up looking ok but there is no time for the hair…what? I had wanted to curl the hair but it looks like it is just going to have to stay straight. In a competition where a bad tan, bad makeup or bad hair can cost you the win, I was slightly concerned.

Well, I guess good things come to those who persevere because I ended up winning in the bikini category. The road to success is never straight and easy, I suppose. Adversity will make you stronger and teach you a lot. In the grand scheme of things, if this is the worst thing in the world to ever happen to me, it’s not so bad (especially considering the outcome).

Food=Death?? Conflicting views on optimal healthy eating

Where is the truth?

In my last post I mentioned that I have enrolled in a nutrition course. In addition to this, I have also looked into numerous different types of popular supposedly healthy diets, just out of curiosity. The thing is that while all of these theories claim to be the Holy Grail in terms of living a long, healthy, disease free life, they are all spewing slightly different crap. Some of the proponents of these lifestyle diets are almost as fanatical as some religious nuts. If you eat carbs, you will die. If you eat fruit, you will die. If you eat dairy, you will die. If you do not follow me, you will die… Righttt… The thing is that they can be quite convincing and it seems almost as though it is a scare tactic to get people to follow suit. I got scared. For a moment, one author actually had me convinced that because I eat oatmeal for breakfast (the good stuff, not the pre-packaged stuff), I am going to develop diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I am 100% on board for living a healthy lifestyle but if one more person tries to convince me that fruit is the devil, I might just lose it. I do believe that the mounds of processed crap out there are contributing to an unhealthy population, but where did the notion that fruit is unhealthy ever become a thing? And why have egg yolks all of a sudden become taboo? All of the healthy recipes are now calling for egg whites because the yolk apparently has far too much fat. News flash, I think the years of evolution of the egg might just outweigh the recent belief that the yolk is the enemy of a slim figure. I will admit that I had jumped on that band wagon for a while but then I came to my senses. Fat is good. Yolk is a natural fat and as long as not consumed in excess, then eat it. But that is true of everything. Moderation. Typically on average I will consume at lease two eggs every day, yolk included. Time will tell if that will be my demise but I have a strong suspicion that I’ll be ok.

Another popular notion is that dairy is none other than the substance excreted from the devil himself. While more research is needed on my part into this matter, I’ve read about dairy causing inflammation in the body. I will admit that I have drastically cut down on my milk intake. It was more so as an experiment than anything. I didn’t notice any changes in how I felt however I have only been off dairy for a relatively short period of time. And to be honest, I haven’t been all that disciplined. I routinely sneak gulps of chocolate milk right from the carton… And how can I resist a beautiful piece of pizza with glorious cheese on it, especially now that I am not competing. Lately however, I have tried to get back on the wagon and have tightened the reigns on my dairy restrictions again. I do believe that inflammation contributes to chronic illness and if dairy causes inflammation, as long as I allow my cheats every now and then, I don’t think I’ll miss it that much. I drink a lot of almond milk and for those of you who haven’t tried it, it does not taste like cows milk. It’s about re-training your tastebuds.

Then we come to the carb debate. We all know that carbs in excess will contribute to weight gain, but there are definitely good and bad options when it comes to carb choices. I have pretty much completely sworn off bread, even the whole wheat kind. I do not have a gluten allergy or anything but I decided that I was going to make this lifestyle choice after doing some research. Tell me why does my bread need added sugar? WHY?? My aversion to bread makes sandwiches virtually impossible which is a pain in the ass but I have gotten used to it. But of course, pizza is my downfall again. Yes, it is still bread. Some things I just cannot give up. Rather than making sandwiches, I find myself making a lot of strange medleys. I will chop up some hard boiled eggs, add some leftover chicken, throw in some green pepper and maybe some celery, add some humus and spices and there you have it. It’s a mishmash of healthy ingredients. It is actually quite easy and the only annoyance is cleaning up the dirty dishes. But, back to carbs for a second, I read one book that said that even the “healthy” grains (oats, quinoa, etc) and fruit are bad carb… Umm…would you have me eat kale and broccoli all day?? That brings me to another point. I found a source that said that eating cruciferous (kale, broccoli, cauliflower) vegetables everyday was bad for you due to a chemical in these veggies to prevent bacterial infection. This source suggested that it was best to eat these at most every other day. How are we supposed to function with all of these different opinions?

 

I will share my philosophy on the matter of healthy eating. I’m not telling you to live and die by these “rules”, they are merely the way I try to live my life.

– I try to avoid trans fats as much as possible (this includes fried foods)

– I try to always read the ingredient label/nutritional data before buying a packaged product (less ingredients is better and it is also best if you can understand the label)

-I avoid artificial sweeteners where possible

-I avoid artificial colours where possible

-I never add sugar to anything that I make. I sweeten things with fruit, honey, pure maple syrup or stevia

-I try to avoid food that I know has added sugar

-I never buy fruit juice. I prefer to make my own veggie and fruit juice (using a juicer) with just raw fruit and veggies and nothing else.

– Where possible, I try to use milk substitutes rather than dairy milk (example, almond milk)

– I avoid all bread products where possible

– I use healthy cooking oils like coconut and extra virgin olive

– I eat a lot of nuts, especially almonds

– For protein, I usually stick to chicken breast and fish

– Don’t forget to eat beans

– The food processer, blender and juicer are my favourite kitchen items

– I try to use spices to liven up a dish instead of unhealthy sauces and where I need a sauce, I typically use hummus

– When a recipe calls for flour, use any other type of flour other than that bleached shit. Coconut flour, oat flour, chickpea flour, almond flour, etc. Lets say that you don’t have oat flour but you do have oatmeal. Well miracles do happen because you grind that oatmeal and it is now oat flour.

– I never drink soda pop

I can’t really think of anything else right now… I think that is a pretty comprehensive list for now though. Just remember, if you are trying to alter your lifestyle, it is all about re-training yourself and indulgences are ok as long as they are in moderation. But that is just my views on the matter. Oh, one other thing, you need to get off your ass and exercise. That is all.

 

Happy Holidays!

The Storm Before The Calm

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A quick catch up before we get into today’s post. My most recent show (beginning of October), has come and gone. I felt that I presented a great physique, maybe my best yet but once again there is something about me that the judges don’t seem to like. I finally bit the bullet and paid for the judge feedback (yes, they make you pay). One hundred sixty dollars later, the first words of the feedback were “Legs are thick…”. Ok, yes. I am aware that my legs are not stick thin however I cannot comprehend how it is possible to place me 5th out of 6 competitors and yet 1st place is awarded to someone who has legs at least as thick as mine and with less definition may I add. See image below.
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I simply cannot comprehend. I know this is coming from a biased perspective but it really makes one question the “business” aspect of this particular organization, if you catch my drift. I make no accusations, it just seems interesting that certain people do quite well despite what they present on the stage… There seems to be a recurring theme here. Every show that I have competed in with this organization, I always rant about the judging afterwards. Finally enough is enough and I am going back to the organization that I started with. With that organization, you can usually spot who is going to place where and it makes it easier to accept a loss if you can see what they are looking for. But, I don’t expect a loss this time.

The storm before the calm. What do you mean? Well I have one more show that I am competing in this year and it happens to be next Saturday. That being said, this week is peak week and a whirlwind is about to ensue. Prepping for a show is not pretty my friends. I have to get the nether regions waxed, de-fur the rest of my body, try to avoid any and all types of body contact to prevent bruising, freak out over the pimple that I can feel is coming, get my shit all packed for the show, prepare my pee cups, make sure that the spray tan lady doesn’t screw up my tan again, make sure that I don’t lose any of my fake nails, and stress about the fact that I will be on my period for the show. Not to mention that I have to perfect my posing routine and ensure that the body is in perfect winning form. Too much information? It’s worth it, believe it or not.

As a side note, you may be wondering what the heck a pee cup is. Well, as us girls have to sit down to urinate, once our tan is applied, this tends to yield streaks. You do not want to be on stage and have pee streaks ruining you tan. Solution…turn a disposable cup into a funnel. Oh the joys of competing.

I feel really confident about this show. Although, I feel confident going into all of my shows so I guess it’s not saying much. Regardless, I am optimistic and I anticipate good things. I look forward to sharing my result of the upcoming competition and to all of you reading this, keep reaching for your goals.
That was cheesy, but it’s still true.

Stick with what you are good at?

Hello friends!

So the show on May 10th was the biggest show that I have ever been in. It was almost too big. The pre-judging took about 7 hours with the bikini girls right at the end. Not only was it tiresome for me to wait around all day but I felt bad for my entourage that came out to support me. They had to wait around for what could be an entire work day for some people. It just seemed that perhaps things could have been organized differently. But then again, I don’t want to shit too much on the show because on the off chance that someone from the federation reads this blog, I don’t want to find myself face to face with a masked bodybuilder who’s sole mission is to silence me… 

There was what seemed like a million bikini girls competing in each hight class. We definitely out numbered any other category, by far. So for any single guys out there, if you are trolling for some girls in the best shape of their life, it’s not a bad place to look. Although some of these ladies will be much stronger than you so keep it classy, gentlemen. There were 4 height classes in bikini and in my height class, there were 19 girls. I got second call out which I was ok with. Of course I wanted to place top 5 but I have learned that this organization is very wishy washy with their placings, so I have come to accept their interesting judging choices. Again, I found judging to be very inconsistant. In my height class, first place had some abs on her but second place didn’t have much visible musculature. I just don’t know how you can reward one body and reward another that looks completely diffent. It seems that they are picking people on a whim rather than based on a certain specific body type that they want. It makes it very difficult as a competitior to know what they want because you are basically taking a shot in the dark. I heard through the grape vine that the girl in the tall height class missed out on first place because her hair was slightly more frizzy than the other girl’s. If this is the case, then this is not the orginization for me. I hope this orginization enjoyed sucking some money from me because that is the last dime I spend on one of their shows. Damn, those are some fighting words. With that said, I better not go back to them because if they read that, then there is definitely no chance of me winning. What am I saying? They never even gave me top 5 so I think it is safe to say that I am just not what they are looking for.

So should I stick with what I am good at? The first organization I tried seemed to respond to my physique. I took home second place twice with that one. And as a spectator, that orginization is much more predictable. You know why? Because they judge based on a certain criteria and the winner is chosen based on a specific physique type. What I have leared from is orginization is that they love a well developed back and some nice round delts. If you also have some quad/ham definition, basically take home the trophy now. I started competing because I wanted my phyqisue to be judged. If I had wanted to enter a beauty pagent, I would have done so. It seems that there are some blurred lines in bikini. With that said, I will return to the first orginization. They have a show in July and I may decide to do it. I am not 100% sure yet because I am enjoying pizza way too much but the option is there.

Perhaps it is enough to be happy with my body and not have other reward me with trophies. I couldn’t be happier with myself so at the end of the day, do I need to win competitions? I guess maybe I will do it until I no longer have a love for it. Constant rejection may erode that love sooner than later but despite all of that, not once have my poor placings ever caused me to be self conscious about what I bring to the stage. I guess that’s winning.

The picture above is of the show on May 10th. I am in the middle showing way too much sass for my own good. The girl on the left took home first place and the girl on the right took home 2nd. Interesting.

Boxing as viewed by a bodybuilder…

Sometimes experiencing new things can yield positive or negative feelings. However if one never attempts to experience anything new, it is a true waste of the intellectual curiosity we as human beings have. My boyfriend and I went to a professional boxing match this past weekend and it was a first time for the both of us. I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it but I was looking forward to experiencing this new life event. I am not usually a fan of violence but I wanted to witness it simply to add it to my resume of life. This is similar to the emotions that I felt when I saw a bullfight in Spain a few years ago. I knew that they would kill the bull at the end and I wasn’t particularly excited for the brutality of the match, and yet I wanted to experience this cultural event. Years later, I am still unsure whether I enjoyed it but I am very glad that I attended. But I digress. I want to tell you about my experience at the boxing match and how my fitness competitions have skewed my view of the world.

For the boxing match, the uniform is shorts, shoes, gloves. They do not wear shirts. Anytime I am able to witness athletes without clothing, my mind goes into muscle analysis mode. I found myself critiquing their physiques as if they were competing in a bodybuilding event. His lats are better than his, he has no deltoids, where are his pecs? Apparently boxers are supposed to be somewhat lean and not overly developed in the muscle department and I got schooled when I voiced my opinions. Supposedly the smaller the boxer, the quicker they can move or something of that nature. I don’t know boxing, I know bodybuilding.

Something did bother me quite a bit at the match….so much paleness. The last time I saw so many pale people without shirts on was when I watched the movie Twilight. The sweat dripping off of the pale boxers was even reminiscent of the sparkly skin of the vampires in that movie. Holy moly, I thought I might go blind. Perhaps, my brain is no longer wired correctly. Everything I witness, I seem to compare to my fitness shows. If someone that pale even attempted to step on my stage, they would probably burn to a crisp after the stage lights hit them.

When the main event came on, the boxers were slightly more bulky to my delight. I heard some audience members behind me say, “He is super jacked.”… At that moment, I had no words. I suppose jacked is a relative term because clearly this spectator has never been to a fitness facility in their life. Regardless, these boxers did have more muscles than the rest of the boxers. The thing with boxing is that it is judged based on a subjective point system. Yes, sometimes it is obvious to tell who will win a match, but unless someone is knocked out, the decision is left up to the judges. This slightly reminded me of the judging at a bodybuilding competition.

Some audience members near us were clearly close family or friends of one of the competitors. The most vocal supporter was a rather large woman with a rather large voice that came in at quite a high decibel. I wouldn’t have minded the loud chants if she wasn’t so damn obnoxious. Perhaps she could benefit from expending her energy on different things, like any form of physical activity, for example. Oh, now I’m being rude. I should stop there before the haters jump on me. I meant it only as a friendly suggestion. I am just promoting heart health and diabetes prevention after all.

Inspiration can be a Fickle Asshole

After an extended hiatus from writing, I have finally decided to return to the craft. I must explain that my inspiration seemed to have walked out on me. This included my inspiration for strict eating, working out and writing. This thing called inspiration heartbreakingly dumped me just like Brad dumped Jen. Perhaps someone else needed my inspiration more than I did, and I guess if I look at it like that, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Before you go and give yourself a brain aneurysm, NO I did not start on a diet which only consisted of chocolate cake with a side of churros, and my only form of exercise was NOT walking from the couch to the kitchen with the occasional saunter to the bathroom. While it may be true that the asshole called inspiration did leave me, I still did it without that bastard. Side note, it makes it more fun to blame something when you imagine it is a physical being. In case anyone is unclear, I am referring to inspiration as a person in order to scapegoat. I must admit that it is quite difficult to force yourself to do something day in and day out when you no longer feel motivated, but rest assured that it can be done. So I worked out but I took the occasional day off which was previously unheard of. And I ate. Not cray cray ate, but I ate…and drank. Cake, pasta, fries, pizza, and the inside of a canolli once. Funny story, my brother saw the canolli shell and got all excited that there was one left only to realize that some sneaky devil had eaten all of the cream inside. I am said sneaky devil. I didn’t intend for it to happen though. At first, I just wanted a taste of the cream and then one thing led to another and I thought I couldn’t possibly live with myself if I ate both the shell and the cream.  So in the end, I left the shell on the off-chance that some poor bastard might be canolli hungry enough to feel satisfied with the shell alone. If you find this behaviour odd, I assure you that my oddness extends to every aspect of my life. After all, I am the bright spark who literally screamed at the sight of my own shadow and then proceeded to attempt an acrobatic evasive manoeuver to avoid the perceived danger…yesterday.

Enter the present. I have begun to restrict the junk once more as something big is coming. I have been humming and hawing for weeks when it came to deciding whether or not I would compete on May 10th. It was probably 3 or 4 days ago that I finally made the decision. This is a risky move as my diet has been less than stellar however the judges didn’t seem to like me when I was super strict so what have I got to lose. Maybe those judges might be bamboozled by me this time and end up giving me a trophy despite my non strict behaviours! Wouldn’t that be a fun little prank?

I feel like I am in a different mindset going into this show. I suffer no delusions this time. It must be noted that what one considers to be a winning physique might end up not being rewarded simply because of the opinion of those “special” people who sit in the front row. Whatever happens will happen and I want to get back to loving the process. Yesterday, I was giving it some serious thought while I was supposed to be working and realized that most of all I just can’t wait to get on stage and have everyone look at me. Screw the trophy. I love what I will be presenting to the audience and that is all that matters. Yeah, it sucks to lose but how can you lose when you love yourself? Oh boy,I sound super cheesy but it is how I feel. If you had any doubt, you can just peruse my self-indulgent instagram account to see for yourself. Instagram is a platform perfect for the egotist, narcissist or exhibitionist. Have I become all of the above? Maybe it isn’t so bad to find your inner egotist because I can assure you that self love is much sweeter than self hate.

Haters gonna hate. Ignorance Edition.

“That’s gross. That’s so weird. Why would anyone do that to their body?” These are the typical comments that I hear or overhear when there is a discussion about bodybuilding involving individuals who are unfamiliar with the sport. When around people involved in the bodybuilding world, many people will try to be understanding and not voice their judgements but inevitably they slip up and make a comment that can be seen as offensive. Perhaps they don’t intend for the comment to be offensive, however to the man or woman who has dedicated hours and hours to craft their body, it can come across in a negative way.

Although I participate in the least muscular category (bikini/fitness model), and this category tends to be the most subjectively judged, it does not mean that I do not put excessive amounts of time, effort and thought into sculpting my physique. I watched some old footage of Arnold recently and he discussed that bodybuilders are like sculptors. Where as a sculptor might look at his work and add extra clay to a certain area, a bodybuilder looks at their physique and assesses what muscle needs to be built to form a more symmetrical or aesthetically pleasing physique. I have developed a deep appreciation for all of the categories of bodybuilding. Bikini, fitness, figure, physique, bodybuilding. I never look at a male or female bodybuilder and think negative thoughts.Perhaps one must experience what it takes or at least be witness to it, to really understand the dedication involved. I look at those crazy quads or the monstrous backs and I am in awe. It is not that I aspire to be that big because I am more than happy with my size, but rather it is an admiration for what they have been able to accomplish. It takes a special kind of crazy to do what we do and I say that with love. We are crazy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t laugh at the men’s posing suits. Don’t make negative statements regarding the women’s muscles. Don’t think they look silly because they take themselves seriously as they go through their poses. I’ll have you know that come show day, the posing routine combined with all of the compulsory poses is actually like a full body workout. It is not uncommon to be sore after show day because one has to hold poses for long periods of time and exaggerate the motions in order to best display the physique.

Perhaps if the haters out there knew more about the sport, they would understand or at the very least, keep their judgemental comments to themselves. This is a legitimate sport and athletes at the top of their game are rewarded accordingly. Did you know that the winner of the 2013 Mr.Olympia title took home a prize of $250,000? That is a pretty nice paycheck if you ask me. Even 2nd place goes home with a pretty penny at $125,000. Not bad at all.

There are things about the sport that are not glamorous and when you don’t place as well as you had hoped, you may become frustrated with the system. At the end of the day though, we do it because we enjoy it and the killer physique that comes with it isn’t bad either. Be positive people, don’t hate. If you don’t like it, it’s not your life so chill.

This is my sport and I love it!