Pictures above Summer of 1984 and February 2016
Thirty one years later I finally got on stage to pose. My teenage passion was bodybuilding and I dreamed of going into a competition. The one thing that stopped me was they were starting to do steroids and I wasn’t about to do that. All these years later it is still the truth, they are doing steroids and I am not. But what I didn’t care about was them, I just wanted to have that experience and get on stage. I think I made my inner child proud even though she was cringing because the dream was with my 18 year old body not a 49 year old body. I guess procrastination doesn’t pay. If you have a dream then live it now. It if is worth doing you will find a way, if it isn’t you will find an excuse.
How did it go? Well the good news was I was still living as though I might do a competition one day. I have always been in and out of the gym. I coach triathlon and I make sure strength is in the center of the training and it takes over in the off season. My cycle is from weights with minimal cardio in the off-season for a re-balancing of posture and muscle. The cardio starts in base phase and I phase through a strength training that builds endurance and power. Eventually as we near race season the weights taper to only essential moves and they give their time over to the endurance training. This has always been a great way to do it as a person misses the weights as they enter race season and look forward to returning to them in the off season. They miss the cardio in the off season and look forward to the return in the base building season. It is a great balance and produces a body that is strong and resilient. I prevent over training of cardio by keeping the strength in as a place holder until we are ready to go outside. Usually an increase in time over 1 hour per month is really tough to recover from, so when we head outside the weights drop back a bit to allow for the extra increase in outdoor training. It works.
I decided in April 2015 that I wanted to actually try to do a competition. I was signed up for Ironman Canada in Whistler for July, so we were onto a big build before I went into my coach and signed up. He started me on a diet that I realized was not going to jive with what I was doing. I went back to him and asked for clarification I sent him my training schedule and he said no problem, just add fat if you need. My diet was 900 calories of carbs, and 900 calories of protein. I waited until October to go hard.
My diet for the cut up began on Boxing day, 9 weeks out from the event. I would have preferred 12 weeks of diet as I do not feel I made it to my goal fat percentage, but I still finished the event and was happy.
The diet consisted of 220 grams of protein, I had 2 meals of egg whites, 2 meals of tilapia, and 2 meals of chicken. I was allowed oatmeal for breakfast and each of the 6 meals came with carrots or veggie of choice. 10 oz of carrots for breakfast and 6 ounces of carrots for each of the remaining meals.
I started and stuck to the diet. I was starting to struggle with what I believe was hypoglycemia. I have suffered from this before but didn’t expect this from the diet. I would start to get shaky as soon as I ate and had a hard time being in my body in that state. The time seemed like torture, I knew I wasn’t hungry but it felt like I needed to eat something. I always felt it worse right after I ate lunch. I took up painting to keep me from eating, it kept my hands busy when my brain kept sending feed me messages.
Eventually I had to make some changes or quit the diet. I realize they are trying to execute a ketogenic diet. A diet with no added fat and all these carrots seemed like a bad idea if you were doing a Ketogenic diet. How would I know? I just happened to have done the Ketogenic diet with my daughter for 5 years to cure her seizures and knew carrots were too high in sugar for her.
I reduced the carrots in half and added some peanut butter to the egg whites, approximately ½ tbsp. Then I added some Boursin cheese to my tilapia and switched the carrots to kale salad. My overall calories remained the same. My fiber was lower than he had, but my shakiness stopped and immediately I wasn’t hungry anymore. I didn’t white knuckle my way through each day. I have to say I do not know if this change made a difference on my muscle gain. I ended up losing 13 pounds from my beginning of December weight and 18 pounds from my boxing day weight which was high in water retention from Christmas time.
My first week on the diet I dropped 4 of the 5 pounds of water weight, then over the next 3 weeks I was down 3 more pounds. I then plateaued for 3 weeks. This was when my body was stressing out asking for food all the time. I couldn’t believe how awful it was and yet I lost nothing. As soon as I made the change to fat my body relaxed and weight was coming off. I realize weight is not the entire story, but from my photos I didn’t lose much muscle, so I do think the diet was successful.
My goal this year is to rework the diet. Something that combines eating for triathlon with eating for competition. I do believe if I had more energy I would have been able to execute more cardio. I was reduced to a walk except while teaching my classes. After a high cardio day I would take a couple days to recover from dizziness and fatigue. I spent the last 3 weeks of the diet perpetually dizzy whenever I bent down and stood up, and I also realized that the super-sets I was doing I had only enough energy for 6 – 8 reps and after that would be dizzy for the remainder of the set trying not to lose my balance. It would take my recovery rest to stop being dizzy.
I planned my day around my oatmeal. Get the weights done as soon as I could. Try to get some work done right after. Go do my cardio in the afternoon and lay down if I had to before I had to work at night. It was tough as I do not have time to sleep during the day, but it is highly recommended that you nap for recovery. My job is morning and nights and book work in the afternoons. I have to say the book work was done with less brain power than usual.
The photos on the left taken in April 2015. The photo on the right taken Feb 1st 2016. My fat dunk from March 2015 indicates my base muscle and bone weight to be 126.9 pounds, the fat dunk from March 2016 indicates my base muscle and bone weight to be 129.5. I gained 2.6 pounds of muscle over the year. I was sick for most of the time, so I feel I gained the muscle from October until Feb.
I suffered from an elbow injury which prevented much weight use for shoulders and arms. I am getting rehab for that now and hope to fix this for the next show.
Things to get done early – get a posing routine. I hired IFBB Pro Michelle Brent to come up with a routine. I tweaked it to work with me and it was awesome.
The posing suit, it needs fitting it has to be specific to you, so start early so you have time. I was so fortunate to have Kelly Marsh offer to make mine for me. This took a lot of stress off of me. While I got fittings she made me pose in it and that began the process of practicing poses in front of people. She was a great stage Mom along with Susie as they kept making suggestions on improvements. Then Kelly got Lindsey, Rebecca, and Juline to come over and give feedback. Juline has done a few competitions in the bikini and Fitness divisions. Again the more feedback the better. The posing started to feel better as they pointed out where it needed help and reminded me to smile.
The last 10 days.
No salt, only unsalted almond butter, no canned fish, distilled water only, ½ the oatmeal.
Essentially this is where training gets dangerous. I teach triathlon and coach people to take electrolytes to keep their muscles functioning. Now I was teaching a class and I was dehydrated and void of electrolytes. I was starting to have some muscles tighten and seize during my Saturday classes. I would have to more or less go through the motions and teach and coach rather than participate. It was good to have to back off once in a while, but I also knew how quickly I could get hurt doing this phase of the diet. I tried to avoid anything I didn’t have to do.
The last week.
Now I am on water tight which is a diuretic. I am taking it twice a day. I am also taking 2 green tea capsules twice a day with it. I can’t take any supplements so my magnesium is only coming from the water tight which is minimal compared to what I usually take. I am starting to feel my muscles want to spasm a bit, so I am happy I am down to my last few workouts. The competition is on a Saturday. The last workout is on the Wednesday an all over body workout. This is the day I was losing my nut. I still didn’t have the fat off my abdomen the way I wanted it too look. I didn’t see my glutes separating, I really was disappointed that to go this far was still missing my goals. That 3 more weeks I would be ready and yet my show was in two days. After a short but intense pitty party where I wanted to not do the show until I realized everyone had tickets so I had no choice. I started to let it go and just enjoy the fact my inner child was about to get up on stage and strut her stuff for the first time.
The day before the Event
Friday noon – no drinking water. What is great about this diet is at first you miss food. All food, it smells fantastic as your sense of smell is 10 times stronger when you are starving. Then they remove flavor from what little food you have and you miss that little bit of peanut butter, that hot sauce, the diet coke. But eventually all you end up craving is a drink of water, something so basic that in a day most people don’t even drink plain water anyway. My mind wasn’t asking for chocolate anymore, it was just a drink and something with flavor.
Friday I got my spray tan. I have to say this was almost as unsettling as it could have been. Small dome tents with 3 sides and all lined up in small areas, let’s just say privacy was something you imagined you had so that you could do this. You strip naked and they come over and spray you. The doors were open to the outside where it was 8 degrees out. The spray tan was about 8 degrees and it took for ever to dry. The best worst moment was in my humiliation of having this done the command of bend over came. I laugh now, but it sucked then. I have to say the lady doing my tan put me at ease and again I let it go.
Friday night was registration. You had to have your suit on for inspection and get your height measured for your class. This was fine. Then I got to sign up for photos and video and think about the next day. We went to a movie with the Mike and his friend, then I sat visiting in the hotel with some of the friends I had who were there to cheer. I was happy to see everyone there, it helped me get over any worries.
Saturday Competition Day
Dehydration took its toll. When I woke up, my body was so fatigued, my brain was so fatigued, I was a walking zombie. Gary drove me and we waited at 6:00 a.m. to figure out how to get in to get my hair and makeup done. I finally got in. Got some spray on makeup and some false lashes. I was starting to look like a Diva. Over to get my hair done and now I was ready to finish the spray tan.
One more shot at the spray tan and I moved over to where the ladies were in my competition to get to know them. We didn’t get to see any of the show. We were the last to go on. The funny part was the announcer told everyone the show was over before we even got on.
The pump up at the back of the stage was not easy as there were limited smaller weights and enough of the ladies took them already. I used some stretch cords and did some push ups and looked around awkwardly for something else that wouldn’t mark up my tan. I had some honey on a rice cake 15 minutes before the competition. Good enough.
As luck would have it I was first on stage each time. How lucky, I didn’t have to sit and worry I got to get out there and get it done. The best part was the music was Thunderstruck by AC/DC. I couldn’t get nervous or worry about anything while listening to this song, it made me want to move. I started my routine and saw my friends and my husband Gary and my son MIchael smiling and waving. Kelly had the Ironwill Jersey waving it over her head so I could see it. The 18 year old in me came out and strutted her stuff and nailed the routine. It is only 1 minute long. I think I knew why. When I got off stage the adrenaline hit and I was breathing hard, I started to wonder if I had even breathed on stage. Then I couldn’t remember if I did all my poses on stage. Off for comparisons. Cramp time. How long you hold a pose can cause you to cramp seriously at this point. The calves were first.
At the end of this I placed 3rd overall in the Masters division and 2nd in the Physique tall class. There were 5 ladies competing and I fell right in the middle. I wasn’t really there to do anything but compete and do my thing. I was happy how it all turned out and am looking forward to doing it the way I wanted to, leaner and more prepared. That is what the next one is about.
After the Competition
Sunday felt worse than Saturday. I took heed and didn’t over-hydrate. I avoided binge eating and eating a ton of salty food. I just had normal food in normal quantities. I did have some wine. I woke up feeling more exhausted than the day of the event. I think the dehydration was the problem. I was really dizzy teaching swimming and really needed to sit down a lot.
3 weeks have passed since the competition and I have to say that the hydration of my body is not yet complete. Maybe it is, but the effects have not worn off. My muscles are all so tight they could tear. The more I do the more I hurt. I am using lighter weights as I am rehabilitating my elbow and trying to get some progress. I took one kick boxing class and did 2 core classes afterwards and now the obliques and hip flexors are like razor blades. I am going to take a few days off and let my body heal and focus on drinking and taking electrolytes to see if I can get the balance back.
You need the balance for your muscles, your brain and your heart to all work well. Keep this in mind before pushing yourself too soon. I am thinking good advice for next competition is planned rest for the month after, with easy walks and range of motion exercises without much resistance until the body is back to normal.