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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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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