Why Compete?

I’ve been debating doing a competition for months now. To compete again or not? Am I ready mentally and physically? What are my resources and who would be my support system? Should I be going balls to the wall or should I play it safe and just do my workout thing and wait to compete until next year? Am I ready for a calorie deficit and bro foods? Do I even have the time between a full time job, online school, and being a dog mom?

Well I’m doing it and I’ll be stepping on stage in 9 weeks for Emerald Cup yet again. So why? Why compete? Everyone has a different reason. My reason this time is very much different than my reason 2 years ago. 2 years ago I was hungry for gold, I wanted that plastic trophy, I wanted the tiara placed on my head, competing was my waking thought, continuous thought throughout the day, until I laid my head down at night where I would continue to dream about the stage.

2 years ago my prep was awful and my motivation quite vain and juvenile. I started dieting on 1,200 calories in January, 4 months before the show. I didn’t own a food scale so I under estimated all my chicken and turkey, so if I’m being honest, I was likely consuming between 800 – 1,000 calories a day. I lost my period for nearly a year, I had rashes and bruises that wouldn’t heal, and life on the home front wasn’t as peachy as I made it look. Competing was tough on my husband at the time. When the show was over, he said he would leave me if I ever competed again.

Well, 2 years later and he has left me. Not by my choice to compete, but by actions of his own. So I’m free. Free to do as I please. Free to surround myself with who I want. Free to follow my passions again, and free to not give a fuck about what everyone else is saying, doing, or thinking. Now is the perfect time to set my goals and hit them hard.

So what’s motivating me this year?

I am in the pursuit of physical and mental strength. I’m focusing on me 100%, something I never felt like I was able to do, and if I did, I was considered selfish. I’m done telling myself “You’re not beautiful, you’re not intelligent, you have no direction, you have no goals, you’re doing absolutely nothing with your life.” I’m done allowing my broken marriage to continue breaking my spirit. I’m proving to myself, and only me, that I have drive, passion, focus, and it’s okay to think about me and it’s okay to tell myself I’m beautiful.

I have such an awesome support system, I’ve met so many cool people already this second time around. My coach is a bad ass, let’s me blow up his phone with 5 million questions, he’s feeding me lots of food and I feel great. I’m getting my meals and nutrition from Physique Kitchen, delicious steak, rosemary potatoes and the works! 4oz this year looks different than “4oz” 2 years ago. I haven’t been hungry and the muscles are poppin’!

One of the reasons this sport is so appealing to me is you have control, you become so in tune with your own body, you are your own science experiment, you are the potter and the clay, every day you are learning. This year I am less concerned with a gold trophy, even though I will work hard like I’m winning first place. No, this year I’m hungry for a good experience, knowledge, and mental gain.

~Jess

 

One Year, My How Time Flies…

Holy shit.

It’s already been a year, my how time flies.

It’s kinda crazy how we are constantly changing as human beings, making mistakes, learning from them, growing, and changing our perspectives and the way we look at things.

I started this blog to document my bikini journey to the stage, to hold myself accountable, and to inspire others. I started this blog in hopes and dreams of making it big and becoming a sponsored athlete. My waking thoughts until the moment I laid my head down at night were glitz, glam, photo shoots, a perfect body, and a career in being a fitness model.

For the longest time I was trapped inside my own head, completely lost in myself, and I turned the very thing I loved into an obsession that would tear me apart physically and mentally.

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This is me 5-6 months ago. Hungry, unhappy, and erratic. April 2014.

The dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I sacrificed friends, family, happiness, and myself for 2 minutes and 47 seconds on stage and afterwards I said to myself, “That was it?!” I didn’t feel those anxious butterflies, I didn’t get those endorphins or the adrenaline rush, I didn’t get that overwhelmingly ecstatic feeling that I’ve heard about from so many fellow competitors.

The best part about that day was meeting all the great uplifting gals back stage, and the relief that it was over and I could eat that god damn greasy burger, pretzels with queso, and fries piled high.

After all was said and done, I couldn’t even have peace after that! I suffered from ‘post comp’ blues all Summer! What the hell! This ‘thing’ wasn’t gonna let go. I felt like a freakin’ bloated whale carcass! Another 3 months of body issues and internal drama with my self esteem.

FINALLY. I finally found happiness in not giving a fuck. Not giving two shits how many grams of fat I had that day. You know what fat does? Keeps you fuller longer and provides you with energy at your mundane desk job or hours spent studying. Not giving a flying fuck how many carbs I went over. You know what carbs do? Provide you with energy for those strenuous workouts and long distance runs.

Point is. I’m happy now. Truly 110% happy with where I’m at mentally, physically, and how I’m achieving my fitness, work, school, and life goals. That’s what it’s all about people.

You know what the funniest part about all of this is? Now that I’m truly happy, and promoting a realistic healthy life style, I feel like my ‘following’ or ‘stardom’ has definitely gotten knocked down a few pegs. Sure, maybe it’s my lack of selfies or douche-bag-trainer-posts but what the hell. At first it ‘hurt my feelings’ that people weren’t worshipping my ridiculous abs or telling me how shredded I am but the truth is – I AIN’T FUCKING SHREDDED NO MORE! I don’t need to weigh 110 pounds consisting of only bone, muscle, and failing organs to gain approval from the internet.

Update

This is me today. Healthy, strong, and happy. September 2014.

This is me, uncut, raw, and real. Take it or leave it.

From now this blog is just gonna be an ebb and flow of my thoughts, fitness related or not. You can choose to keep reading if you like, but if real life thoughts aren’t your thing you can move onto the next blog, I ain’t crying.

For those of you who have been reading, thanks. It means a lot that some people find interest in my sporadic posting. I hope we can have another year together! If not, I’m fine flying solo.

Have a great night, and thanks for reading.

~Jess

Photo Shoot with Amir Zahed April 5th

Hey Guy!

Here are the rest of my photos from my shoot with Amir at the beginning of April, 3 weeks before my competition. So happy with how they turned out! Amir has helped me out soooo much during this entire process, huge shout out to your great work!

These photos are definitely motivation to kick my ass back into high gear. I CAN look like that again, and I can do it so much healthier this time around. It’s summer time and I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and flaunt my hard work. A rockin’ bod shouldn’t be a temporary goal, something you achieve, walk out on stage and completely kiss goodbye a mere 2 days later. Maintaining a tight physique is a full time job, a commitment, you can’t cheat… it WILL show.

These photos serve as a reminder of all the hard work I have put in for 5 months. They remind me that I can achieve anything if I put 110% of my heart and soul into it. If I want something, I can have it, I will make it mine.

~Jess

 

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Not-so-Healthy dose of Competition

This post speaks volumes to me! I couldn’t have put this in better words….. thanks so much for writing this!

~Jess

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We all have different goals. For some, its seeing the number on the scale going down every week, getting skinnier for the wedding, fitting into a smaller size jeans, wearing the bikini from your honeymoon, or possibly to get on stage in a sparkly bikini with a fake orange tan to be judged by strangers on nothing more than your physical appearance, etc. There is no shame in wanting those things. I was there myself.

The problem: the extreme measures taken to get there, are Not Healthy. The endless cardio, calorie restriction, carb depletion, chemical filled/processed supplements, artificial sweeteners, calorie free/fat free/sugar free crap, all of it, not one bit of it was good for my body or my soul. Sure, it rendered Results! At what cost though?

I backed out of competing due a to spinal condition which was putting me in a large amount of physical pain and…

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Post Comp Blues – Reality Check

Post Comp Blue - Reality Check

I’ve got a nasty case of the ‘post comp blues.’ The photo on the left was taken 3 days before my competition, and the photo on the right was taken 2 days after my competition.

I’ve been putting on weight like crazy, holding water like no one’s business. I’m getting downright depressed. I made the mistake of stepping on the scale today, and guess what? I PUT ON 14 GOD DAMN POUNDS! How the eff does THAT happen?!?!

My whole entire body feels puffy, bloated, and swollen. I have ‘kankles’, my feet are swollen and they ACHE. Every inch of my body feels soft, it’s so hard to workout carrying around 14 extra pounds…. it’s sad, I can’t even keep my balance. I started crying once I stepped off the scale. I’m embarrassed to go to the gym, I don’t want anybody to see me or talk to me. I’m wearing PANTS to the gym, I’m not confident enough to wear shorts 😦

Of course this week is 80 degrees and absolutely gorgeous, the ONE week this year where I want to wear shorts because of the heat, I am embarrassed because of my sausage legs. A lady saw me at the gym right after I stepped off the scale and asked me how my competition went and I broke down crying, so pathetic. I felt so embarrassed, but she encouraged me and told me I’m young and would lose the weight in no time.

Yes, I know the competition body isn’t maintainable, but 14 freakin’ pounds?!?! I did a number on myself, and I hope I can recover.

My competition weight was 111lbs and I currently weigh 125lbs. I weigh more than when I began training for Emerald Cup!

Here is my plan:

I will take the remainder of the week off. Derek says my body needs to reset after putting it through hell. I will start back up training on Monday with a new game plan, hopefully by then I will have shed some of this water weight. I also cleaned out my kitchen of any left over goodies from my ‘Rewards Box’. Holy shit, I didn’t realize how much I actually had! I had Snickers, Hershey Cookies n Creme bars, Mr. Goodbars, Babe Ruth’s, Reeses eggs from Easter, Peanut Butter Cups, Cadbury Eggs, Pop Tarts, Lindor White Truffles, M&M’s etc. I kept very few select candies (the nicer ones) and hid them in a shoe box on the top shelf of my cabinets for when I can control my cravings better, and the rest I am taking to work.

I am going to start eating cleaner too. To be honest, the past few days I have been on SHOVE MY FACE MODE, with anything BAD. I’m not going to worry about my portions and macros until next week, just eating cleaner foods and less sugar.

I hurt my body, I put it through hell, it will take time to find that perfect balance again, but I KNOW it’s possible. My goal is to weigh between 115lbs and 118lbs. Just another goal! I’ve been through worse! Time to find a healthy life style balance I can maintain!

Staying strong…..

~Jess

Post Comp Festivities Hangover….

Dear mother of god…..

I am FULL. I literally feel like I’m ripping at the seams. My SKIN HURTS from gaining my water weight back, I feel puffy, I’m tired, my eyes feel swollen shut. I do NOT feel glamorous.

I knew this would happen though! I refuse to get depressed, I refuse to catch the ‘post comp blues.’ It’s my own damn fault. This morning I thought I would be healthy and have a smoothie for breakfast. I get to work and Lazaro has his delicious Peanut Butter Nutella Cheesecake as promised and OF COURSE I had to have a slice! 9:00am rolls around and I feel an ever so slight hunger so I eat a pop tart, make that 2! According to myfitnesspal, I only have 250-300 calories left for my ‘reverse diet’ IIFYM plan…. ughhhh.

IMG951977I knew this wouldn’t be easy. I knew this would be hard. I know it’s only been a day and a half, but I already feel like a lost puppy.

I’m free! What do I do with myself? Yes, I AM free, but I feel like I need a new goal. I’ve been living the past 5 months following a strict diet and workout regimen, it literally became my entire life. It’s an odd sensation…. not feeling obligated to my workouts or diet plan, not having every second of every day planned. I feel free, but in a way I feel empty.

Even though my journey to the stage had it’s ups and downs, I was a crabby hot mess, downright depressed some days, and so self critical, the overall experience and knowledge gained was worth every second of it. I also enjoyed getting all dolled up, spray tanned, and primped for my big day. I loved meeting all the girls, everyone was so genuinely nice, and it just felt so NATURAL. Emerald Cup was awesome! It was a great show to watch and be a part of.

3 years ago I worked at the Courtyard Marriott, the host hotel for Emerald Cup every year. I was so inspired by all the competitors who came to check in. They all looked so fit, so amazing, and even though I’m sure they were starving and cranky, they were upbeat and treated the Front Desk kindly. I was so inspired! For years after that, I started reading FitnessRx for Women, started weight training, and always had the thought of competing in the back of my mind. I FINALLY grew a pair and asked my husband to train me, I know that bodybuilding and aesthetics is really not his thing, so it was scary asking him.ecup2

He’s been extremely supportive this whole time, even when I’ve been BEYOND a bitch! We hardly had time for each other this entire process. He is a full time student at Seattle University and owns his own professional training business, and I was constantly meal prepping, cleaning my dishes, doing laundry cleaning my gym clothes, writing my workouts, creating my meal plans, spending hours upon hours researching, doing my workouts, tanning, posing practice, etc. It was exhausting for both of us, it quickly became an obsession.

If I choose to do another competition in the future, I would do things very differently. I would take less time to prep (12 weeks opposed to 5 months!) and I would MAKE time for my friends and family. This is a tough sport and requires so much energy and dedication, but that doesn’t mean that priorities should be set aside. There can be a healthy balance, it’s just a matter of taking the time to find that balance and being consciously aware of how you’re effecting the people around you.

I would hate to completely give up competing. I definitely want to take a break and mentally regroup and take on a new goal. Competing in Emerald Cup was an amazing experience, I’m so happy I FINALLY did it! I have wanted to do Emerald Cup for years, I finally did it and I did extremely well, I’m so proud of myself 🙂

Once again, thanks to everyone who have supported me through this entire process, it’s been unreal!

~Jess

Emerald Cup Update!

 

girls2Let me start off by confessing that I haven’t eaten any REAL food today. Today I’ve had French Toast slathered in Caramel Almond Spread, Vanilla Chocolate Swirl ice cream from Costco, jelly beans galore, chocolate, Chicago style popcorn mix, pop tarts and peanut butter and so much more. I’m being real with you. Whew! Now that I have confessed, I will update you guys on my Emerald Cup 2014 Bikini debut experience!

It was a fucking blast. I had a great time! Of course I was stressed out beyond reason preparing during Peak Week, but the actual day was amazing. I met such amazing ladies, everyone was extremely supportive and complimenting each other left and right, and it was awesome being on stage. It was pretty cool FINALLY meeting all the gals that I have kept in contact with through Instagram and other social media. I felt like such a fan girl meeting everybody!

Emerald Cup on Saturday; at first I was skeptical of how the day would go, I was pretty disappointed when I found out the Bikini category had to come BACK for the night show. Last year Emerald Cup only held the bikini division during pre judging in the morning show. I had my mind set on eating a burger in the afternoon right after pre judging! Change of plans, I was going to be tanned, suited up, face caked in make up for HOURS and HOURS! *Le siiiiiiigh*…… ecup2

I met an amazing girl named Brittany Love and we remained Rookie buddies throughout the day. I invited her to my house so we could rest and get ready for the night show after pre judging. The morning show was STRESSFUL! We BARELY made it in time for my to go back stage, get glazed and pump up to go on stage! Apparently they were blasting through the program pretty quickly!

After we parked and I kissed Derek goodbye, I ran up to the 4th floor where we get ready and they were calling Bikini A to line up to go in the freight elevator to go down to the stage! I literally had to THROW my bag down and get my shoes on as fast as possible and catch the elevator before it went down! Talk about an adrenaline rush! I thought I had to walk out on stage right after that, but thankfully there were 2 classes ahead of us and I still had time to glaze, pump up, and get bikini bite for my bottoms. HOLY CRAP! SO CLOSE!

Pre judging went really really well! I did great on my posing, felt comfortable, but hopefully not TOO comfortable. You always think about what you could have done differently after the fact, but I think I did great for my first show! I got second call outs, placed 7th out of 24 gorgeous ladies! I was shocked! Emerald Cup is a huge deal, the largest and most prestigious show in the Northwest and I placed 7th! I actually did better than some girls who have been doing this for years and have won in the past. I felt SO honored!

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I actually had no idea what was going on while I was up there on stage for pre judging. I was just doing my thing, posing, smiling, checking out the judges and repeating in my head “#73, #73, don’t forget your number is 73 if they call you!” AND THEY DID! The girls were so sweet, complimenting my physique and my abs, I was probably blushing but you couldn’t tell with the copious amounts of make up on my face.

Success! I was well prepared, didn’t forget anything important that I might need, and didn’t pack too much either! All I ate all day were rice cakes, almond butter and honey. It was quite delicious, a lot better than what I had been eating all week!

After pre judging Brittany and I went back to my place to kick up our feet and relax. I popped in Mean Girls, I chilled and she napped for a few. Pretty relaxing! It was really nice living right down the street! Derek was a sweet heart and drove me everywhere I needed to be even though this was Kai’s weekend to visit. Kai was so well behaved and sat still for BOTH shows! Derek and Kai went to the dog park with Keyda since it was a gorgeous day while Brittany and I rested. I owe him so much! He’s done a lot for me throughout this entire process, he’s been beyond accommodating. I’m definitely a lucky girl 🙂

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For the night show Brittany and I made sure we got there at 6:00pm to give ourselves ample time to watch our friends and get ready ourselves ready! We had a lot more time to chat with the other girls and meet new people on the 4th floor. Bikini A wasn’t on stage until about 8:45pm – 9:00pm! Looooong night! I was such a nervous wreck for Finals! My face was twitching while I was smiling, and I nearly TRIPPED during my walk and poses! Ughhhhh! SO embarrassing, especially on the Jumbo Screen! The side of my shoe snagged on the staging. The stage was carpeted. No excuse, but the other gals said I recovered well.

Pre judging and Finals were both extremely quick! Hours or preparation, primping, fussing, and tons of money forked out for 3-5 minutes of stage presence! Great experience regardless, I’m really glad I set this goal and followed through with it. This has been an extreme challenge, the journey has been long and hard. I’ve given this goal my undivided attention, vested so much time, research, and resources into it but I’m so glad that I did. I learned so much, met such amazing people, and can say that I have competed in the largest bodybuilding competition in the Northwest and that I placed 7th out 24 amazing girls! This Rookie girl kicked ASS!

The best part was seeing my friends there! Jason & Sonya, Kat & Mat, Danielle & Gerrett, Amir, Derek and Kai all came out to support me! Some people came to Pre judging AND Finals! I felt so loved, it was amazing seeing them! After Finals Danielle and Gerrett came out to Rock Bottom Brewery with us. I did the big NO-NO and went straight for salt…. I ate the Ball Park Pretzels with cheese dip, the Laredo burger and fries, and a beer! Not to mention I’ve been gorging myself on candy and sweets all day! Shopping at Costco this morning was like being in heaven! I could finally order from the food court and buy any groceries I wanted! I’m a free girl! I think half the reason I’m gorging myself is simply because I can now. I can do ANYTHING. I can workout how I want, when I want, hang out with friends, go out to bars, enjoy happy hours, and eat whatever the hell I want.

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This has been an experience for sure. Would I do it again? I don’t know. I know for a fact that I won’t be competing in another bikini competition for a long time. I need to take time to relax, spend time with my family, and set new goals. My body and mind need a break from such a regimented schedule. I want to appreciate the small things in life again, my mind has been on a single track this entire time and it feels freakin’ great to be free!

Now I’m onto the next goal! Anybody got any ideas!? I really want to do another half marathon but I also want to try something new. I think for now I’m going to focus on reverse dieting (beginning tomorrow) out of this insane prep diet, creating clean healthy meals, and spending time with my friends and family. It feels freakin’ great and refreshing!

Thank you everyone for following my journey! I’m so happy I am able to inspire people, and I’m so happy you guys have been so supportive of me, it has helped me immensely! This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me, stay tuned for photo updates and other goals I have coming up!

~Jess

Less than 24 Hours……

Shit just got real.

In approximately 24 hours or less, I will be standing on stage showing off my physique and 5 months of grueling hard work. Like I’ve said many many times before, there are good days and bad days. Some days I felt downright weak and mentally drained, losing sight of WHY I was going through with this and putting my mind and body through so much stress.ecup

When I started this journey to the stage, I had every intention of winning. I was going to place 1st in my Class. I was going to become sponsored, earn my Pro Card, and become a media sensation in the fitness industry. My goal was to win and make a career out of this sport, paving my way to fame and notoriety, and finding a way out of my ‘customer-service-slacks-and-blazer-desk job’.

Reality began to sink in a month or two later and I become more set on the idea of placing Top 5 in my Class. I have a banging body, excellent trainer, the ability to gain muscle quickly, and the will power to say ‘No’ to treats at work…. why not?? That seems feasible right? After all, I’ve been scoping out the competition from previous Emerald Cup’s, I think I might stand a chance.

Another month went by and I hit a plateau. I wasn’t losing weight, I wasn’t seeing any progress and I was picking apart every aspect of my body anytime I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “My ass isn’t high enough OR big enough, why the hell do I still have a crease?!” “Is that cellulite or does the lighting in this room suck?” “Why won’t my obliques come out and STAY out?!” “I shouldn’t have eaten that peanut butter……” and so on and so forth. I was getting real sick and tired of being so damn self critical! I wasn’t giving myself any credit for the progress I had made, it’s like my progress up until my plateau was completely invalid.

Piece of advice: Don’t pick yourself apart. Compliment yourself, and give yourself credit where credit is due.

You are freakin’ beautiful, no matter what anybody says, no matter what the judges say, no matter what you place or what’s written on your score card. The only person’s opinion that matters is your own. At the end of the day, your happiness is all that matters, and the experience you gain through this journey. The journey isn’t over at the end of the show, fitness and health are a life style change and the great thing about it is how versatile it is.

After I had stopped stressing about my body and everything I thought that was wrong about it, after I had accepted, “Yeah, this is my body, I better start loving it because this might very well be my stage package…..” …… I started seeing progress! I started seeing the results I wanted! The amazing thing about our bodies is that they can hear what you’re thinking…. they know what goes on in our heads and we can’t psych ourselves out. I’m extremely proud of where I’m at today! I am a firm believer that there can always be improvement, but for my first show, I’m beyond happy with the package I’m bringing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how I place, I’ve already won and gained such a new perspective on fitness, nutrition, and training. I’m a freakin’ strong person for having the will power to tough it out day after day, week after week, month after month. I have COMPLETELY transformed my body. I was happy with my body before, but I am utterly impressed with the next level I brought it to while training for Emerald Cup this year.

It’s been tough. It’s been really REALLY tough. There have been days ended in tears, countless hours and weekends spent away from family, birthday and holiday celebrations missed, and friends put on the back burner for so long. I’m ready to step on stage, show the judges, audience, friends, and family what I’ve been working so hard. Bring it on Emerald Cup! You have been in my waking thoughts for months, as well as my dreams at night.

So ready to make this happen.

~Jess

30 Things Every Bikini Competitor Should Know

Great post! I completely agree with #28, I’m sure this is how my co-workers view me! I can’t help it, all they do is talk about biscuits & gravy, and cheesecake!

Tomorrow is my first competition, I’m doing this on my own with the help of fellow competitors who I’ve met online as well as the guidance of my husband who is a Fitness Professional.

Excited, nervous, anxious, but I feel like I’ve taken every step and cautious measures to prepare. I’ve done my research and feel like I have done exceedingly well!

Can’t wait!

~Jess