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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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

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

4 Days Out – NERVOUS!

Holy shit….. 4 days out and I’m freakin’ NERVOUS! It’s finally here! All my hard work, hunger, hours spent in the gym, meal prepping, blogging, watching YouTube videos, researching methods, practicing my posing are coming together into one package I’ll be presenting on stage this Saturday, April 26th, 2014. FINALLY! I feel like I’ve been prepping my entire life! I’ve put so much heart, soul, and obsession into this journey, I’m so ready to show off my hard work and eat an effin’ burger!

I’m not gonna lie, there has been good, bad, and flat out UGLY. This journey hasn’t been pretty, it’s been stressful as all hell, it’s put extreme strain on my life, but has also taught me SOOO much I can’t even begin to explain. It’s been wild guys, it’s been extremely wild! So much to do this week! I have to tan, exfoliate, spray tan, nails, bikini wax, practice with a couple gals, spray tan, check-in, buy the last pieces of my jewelry and attend the Friday night show with some friends!

Peak week diet has been UNREAL and it’s only been 2 days! All I’m eating is:

-Greek Yogurt
-Egg Whites
-Brown Rice
-Chicken Breast
-Lean Ground Turkey
-Asparagus
-Almonds
-Rice Cakes
-Almond Butter (when I REALLY need it, but especially on Friday and Saturday!)

I started depleting my water and damn did I ever feel dehydrated today! It was awful! 2 gallons down to 1 gallon! Normally a gallon would sound like a lot, but I really liked drinking my 2 gallons, I felt phenomenal. It will probably take a lil bit of time to adjust, but I think I should be okay.

There have been days where I totally psych myself out, and compare myself to the other girls and begin doubting myself. I had my heart set on Top 5 but everyone looks so good, everyone worked so damn hard to get to where they are, everyone is a winner and I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t place how I thought I would. I’m just so sick and tired of being so self critical, I don’t give myself nearly enough credit for the hard work I’ve put in. I tend to focus on how I could have done things differently, or think, “If I didn’t eat that would I have been tighter?” “If I had lifted heavier weights would my booty be bigger?” etc. This has definitely been an experience, and it’s not over yet! I still have to rock the stage on Saturday! You can bet you’ll be hearing ALLLL about it though 🙂

My goal is to make it through this week. Today was extremely tough. I forgot my chicken breast in the fridge at work, so I didn’t have anything to eat before or after my workout. It was hardcore. I’ve been carb depleted all day. Half the time I wanted to punch people, I couldn’t even really smile or change my facial expression, I was really tired, and could only sigh and yawn all day. I don’t know how I powered through a 90 minute cardio workout…. whewww. Boss status.

Tomorrow is a new day though! I keep telling myself that. There are good days and bad days. You can’t have them all be the best, tough it out. 4 more days! WEEEEE! Nighty, night folks, I need to catch some ZZZzzz’s….

~Jess

10 Signs you are a Bikini Competitor

In the past 4 months that I have been preparing for my first bikini competition, Emerald Cup; I have picked up quite a few interesting habits! I decided to write a blog post about them, and after meeting and talking to several fellow competitors, I’m glad I’m not the only one experiencing these perpetual habits! Correct me if I’m wrong ladies, but this is what a majority of us are doing or feeling:

1) You look at food porn – Your Facebook feed is cluttered with not only buff people to motivate you, but food and recipes that you continue to hit ‘like’ but can’t eat! The more times you ‘like’ food photos, the more you’re gonna get in your feed! This is pure torture, but we must be masochists because we do it anyways. We also have boards on our Pinterest with HUNDREDS of pins of the foods we can’t have until post competition. Mac n’ Cheese casserole, hot fresh cinnamon rolls, ‘Slut’ brownies, ‘Kit Kat’ lasagna…. you name it, it has a special home on your ‘Secret’ board 🙂

hungry2) Your sense of smell is heightened – That’s right, your taste buds haven’t been getting any action so therefore you compensate through your third sense…. SMELL. You can smell pizza from a mile away, the fry oil from Taco Time is orgasmic, and don’t even get me started on the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that come out of the oven at the Microsoft café…. seriously a death trap. I wonder how I’m alive still. I give my hubby a kiss after dinner, just so I can smell the salsa from his burrito…. does that make me weird?!

3) Your favorite part of the day is where you get to eat almond butter (or PB2) – Word. True story. Couldn’t be any truer. I just had my first meal of the day at 5am and I’m counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until I can smear some PB2 on my rice cake and stuff my face hole. Too bad there’s this thing called ‘moderation’ or I’d eat the whole sleeve of rice cakes and bust out the real PB. I crave FAT. I’ve got a whole stash of nut butters, but we’ll talk about that later 🙂

4) You chew a piece (or pieces) of gum for 2 minutes – The life expectancy of a piece of gum for a bikini competitor probably maxes out at 5 minutes. If you have lost your flavor, you are dead to us. We’re moving on, time for a new piece. Before you know if your whole pack of Extra Desserts Mint Chip Ice Cream is GONE, leaving you bloated wishing you had the real thing…. calculating how many weeks or days until you can splurge on all the tasty things you’ve been deprived of for months.

My cookie subscription came JUST IN TIME! Can't wait to try the Halo Halo flavor!

My cookie subscription came JUST IN TIME! Can’t wait to try the Halo Halo flavor!


5) Your Amazon Wish List is food
– Need I say more?!?! I have everything from limited edition pop tarts and oreos, nut butters, new flavors of protein powders, jelly beans for Easter, Stroop waffles, and so much more! Same concept as Pinterest, except I have Amazon Prime, so once I hit ‘order’ those bitches are coming in the mail in 2 days! Those 2 days couldn’t come any quicker. I’ve probably spent the same amount of time adding food to my wish list as I do in the gym. Better than going out and eating it though, am I right?


6) You have a fat stash of goodie post show (who doesn’t?!)
– I got the ‘Rewards Box’ idea from a gal on Facebook. GENIUS! Any time I come across a treat I can’t have, I buy it anyways. I have the satisfaction of knowing that once I step off stage, those goodies will be waiting for me and I will have a wide variety to choose from and share with my new friends 🙂 Wanna hear what’s in mine?! 6 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, Newman’s Own Dark Chocolate PB Cups, jelly beans, Cadbury Eggs, Reeses Eggs, Peeps (I’m the only one who likes Peeps on this planet), White Chocolate Lindor Truffles, Limoncello covered almonds, Dark Chocolate covered coconut, Quest bars, Maranatha Almond Spread, Peanut Butter, and the Chicago Style Popcorn from Costco…. AND MORE! You name it, it’s in there.

7) You like watching other people eat food you can’t have (maybe this is just me?) – This very well COULD just be me….. I have developed a habit of collecting left over catering food from work, carrying it around ALL day to bring to my husband to watch him eat it and tell me how goooood it is. Treats range from cheese cake baked by co workers to brownies, chocolate oatmeal cookies from the café, to the ADDICTING granola from our Catering team. He tries to make me feel better and says it’s gross, but I know better, my third sense of smell knows better…..

8) Your life has become GYM, TAN, POSE!The monotonous routine of GYM, TAN, POSE, GYM, TAN, POSE has taken over your life, leaving you very little room or time for anything else. Priorities that were once there before have fallen to the wayside, good or bad. This can be a sad reality for some, which is my case. I have little time to spend with my husband, give attention to my dog or my cat, and I have to skip out on a lot of weekend family outings. As you can imagine, I have a lot of things on my bucket list for post comp! Walking my dog and taking her to the park more often, cooking something besides chicken and turkey for my husband for dinner, going out to Yogurtland with my step-daughter on the weekends….. one more week, I can taste the freedom! ….. and that juicy burger from Rock Bottom 😉

ashley9) You spend hours on YouTube watching the Pros: India Paulino, Amanda Latona, Ashley Kaltwasser etc. – “How do they move like that?!” you say, “How does she transition so smoothly?!” you think. I’ve spent countless hours watching videos of the Pros, pausing, rewinding, re-watching. Some of my favorites include Amanda Latona and Nicole Nagrani, just to name a few that have inspired me throughout my prep. I have learned so much from YouTube, but have also learned a lot from gals being gracious enough to teach me, watch me, and give me pointers. I’m lucky to know such great ladies!

10) Your waking thoughts, thoughts throughout the day, and thoughts when you lay down at night at all about your competition and journey – This describes the past 4 months to the ‘T’. Everything I do, think, eat, and plan is ALL related to my prep and how it’s going to effect me. I wake up thinking workout, tanning, posing, meal prep, macros etc. All day I’m pep talking myself up for my workout because I’m always so freakin exhausted after work. At this point, it take a lot of mental effort to get myself to the gym and push out a session. At night I’m thinking about the next day, or counting down the days until I step on stage and can enjoy that burger. EVERTHING – I – DO – IS – PREP – RELATED.

 

I guess you could call my dedication borderline obsession, and I couldn’t agree more. I have become obsessed, and it’s EXHAUSTING! I’m so thankful to be a part of the health and fitness community. The people I have met, spoken with, and have followed are extremely supportive and encouraging. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system, not just the people I have connected with through this experience, but my family who has shown extreme patience with me when I have been a raging B****. Saying I haven’t been pleasant would be an under statement! I can’t wait to give back my undivided attention and spend quality time this summer with friends and family. This has definitely been an experience! I can’t wait to check back in and fill you guys in with the deets post show!

Stay tuned! Thanks for the love and support 🙂

 

~Jess

 

Update – 9 Days Out!

Good Morning Fit Fam and Followers!

EEEEEEK! 9 days out, is this real life?! Can time move faster!?

I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. I am feeling a million different emotions; excitement, anxiety, nervousness, confident, a lil’ doubtful but I keep pep talking myself, and very very thankful that I am on the home stretch of this very looooong prep. All my hard work is going to be on display for friends, family, and fellow competitors to see. 9 days to add the finishing touches, 9 days until I can enjoy my reward meal and reflect on the experience.

Top 5 Bikini Class A Gals. I will be meeting them all in 9 days!

Top 5 Bikini Class A Gals. I will be meeting them all in 9 days!

I have been very good about collecting all the information I need, creating a ‘To Do’ list every day, and planning every meal and workout up until the competition day. Last week’s intensive workouts left my body aching. The pool at my gym was closed all week last week, so I had to make due without it. The pool opens today which I’m very excited about! Cardio without the impact, swimming will definitely tone up my package giving me a leaner look. The Competitor List came out last night, so I’ve gotta perfect my look because the competition in my class will be TOUGH!

This past weekend I went to the Vancouver Natural with a gal I met on IG, her name is Ashley and she is competing Figure in Emerald Cup. She’s a really cool chick! It was fun going to the show with a buddy, I’m glad I got to experience one before competing in one. Unfortunately I missed the Bikini pre-judging, Bikini was in the morning show and we ended up going to the night show instead. Tons of fun though, great experience! It was definitely a smaller show from the looks of it, Emerald Cup will be MUCH larger.

Dexter Jackson up close and personal guest performance at Vancouver Natural

Dexter Jackson up close and personal guest performance at Vancouver Natural

I’ve been practicing my posing every day, and guess what? 30 minutes a day really REALLY helps! I’m feeling more and more confident, adding more sass, turning my hips more, hitting my poses strong and mastering my transitions. I’m so thankful I got a Mac Book so I can video myself and play back my routine, it definitely helps to self critique, post online and get feedback.

This weekend is Derek’s birthday! He’s turning 26 this Friday, April 18th! OLD FART! Haha, just kidding 🙂 Saturday night we’re going out to Lot 3, so bummed I can’t drink with him to celebrate. On a positive note, I’ll look smokin’ hot in my itty bitty dress! This weekend I plan on getting my hair cut and picking up make-up samples for the competition, as well as fitting in a couple more tanning sessions and possibly picking up some cheap competition jewelry if mine doesn’t come in the mail soon. I’ll begin depleting water this weekend and exfoliating my skin for my spray tan appointment. Just a few more intense workouts then I can relaaaaax for PEAK WEEK!

I’m so thankful that I’ve had the help from fellow competitors and family to guide me through this entire process! Everything from posing practices, depletion methods, make up advice, meal prep ideas, and moral support. I love being a part of this community, people are so supportive and want to see you succeed! I’ve been extremely blessed during this entire process, despite the down days where I feel so hungry, emotional, and exhausted.

I have even gotten a head start on my IIFYM – Reverse Dieting Plan! I’ll provide the breakdown, I’m very excited:

1) April 27th through May 10th (2 week period) – 
1400 calories a day
50 minutes of cardio 5 days a week
2 weight training days

2) May 11th through May 24th (2 week period) –
1600 calories a day
40 minute of cardio 4 days a week
2-3 weight training days

3) May 25th through June 7th (2 week period) –
1800 calories a day
30 minutes of cardio 4 days a week
3-4 weight training days

4) June 8th through June 21st (2 week period) –
2000 calories a day (will assess my caloric needs)
20 minutes of HIIT cardio 3 days a week
3-4 weight training days

I am feeling extremely prepared 🙂 Bring it on Emerald Cup! Gimme a crown and fat juicy burger!

~Jess

 

 

Update – Posing Practice Video

Hey Guys!

Here’s my most recent posing practice video. 12 days out! So nervous, exhilarated, and ready 🙂 My goal is to practice posing EVERY DAY at least 30 minutes a day until my walk, poses, turns, and transitions are second nature. Working on adding that sass 😉

Let me know what you guys think! Advice, pointers, and feedback is welcomed and appreciated!

~Jess

Post Competition Goals

Post Competition Goals

It’s Sunday! Last day to relax and prepare for the crazy week ahead. Putting off my workout…. snuggling with my cutie 🙂 My stomach doesn’t feel so great, too much coffee and not enough food perhaps. Ughhhh, feeling ill. So naturally I’m posted on the couch surfing the net, reading inspiring blogs by fellow competitors, and attempting to write my own. I figured I might as well write about the topic that has been on my mind for the past few weeks: post competition goals.

It’s no lie that a lot of priorities that were once front and foremost in my life have fallen to the wayside since training for this competition. My every day has been consumed with training, writing my workouts, prepping my food, calculating my macros into myfitnesspal, loads upon loads of laundry, tanning, posing, researching, buying extensive amounts of shit like my suit, heels, protein powder, supplements, NPC card, registration, tanning, accessories, etc. I’m excited to just BE and enjoy myself, my friends, family, and time.

Here is a condensed list of all my post competition goals:

1) Spend more time with my family – This is obviously numero uno. Countless weekends I have had to decline invitations and had to skip out on spending time with family so I could fit that workout in, burn those extra calories, or meet up with someone for posing practice. This competition has definitely consumed my waking thoughts and every ounce of energy and time that I have. Although my dedication can be viewed as admirable, I view it as an obsession at this point, one that is making me tired. I have learned a lot through this process, including how I should rearrange my priorities.

2) Spend more time with friends – This definitely falls under number one. Same idea. I have put them on the back burner, and it’s really not cool. In fact, some days I feel like I have no friends, people have invited me to go out numerous occasions and I have denied every opportunity, now people don’t even extend the invitation. I might even need to find new friends, it’s been so long since I’ve just ‘hung out’ with someone. I can’t wait to do this again! Go out dancing, see the movies, plan a girls night, happy hour, cooking FOOD, EATING FOOD!

3) Working out how I want to work out – Every workout I plan now has a specific goal. Make that larger, make this smaller, trim that in, shave that down, blah blah blah. I want to workout just to have fun, feel good, and try something new and exciting! Some of my goals include:

-Getting my ass back, possibly making it larger and higher. It kind of deflated through this process, I’m super bummed about it 😦

-Pick up swimming. I feel freakin fantastic when I get out of the pool! I love it! I hate getting IN the pool, but I know I’m gonna feel super
awesome later. I wouldn’t mind working on technique and speed, possibly mastering a flip turn (?)

-Lift some SERIOUS weight. I like lifting, I like feeling and BEING strong. I feel like such a pussy trying to squat in the squat rack on minimal
calories, I feel weak.

-IIFYM! Hell yeah, the perfect way to diet and properly fuel your body for intense activity while remaining shredded! Bring it on!

-Do another half marathon. I felt amazing last year training for my half marathon. I had so much fun running, felt energized, loved the mental
and physical benefits, and I could eat whatever I wanted! In fact, it was encouraged to carb load! I was eating bagels and muffins when I would
normally NEVER eat those prior to marathon training!

-I want a workout buddy. I have ALWAYS wanted a workout buddy, but I haven’t been able to have during training because a) No one wants to
workout for whatever reason b) Even if someone did wanna workout with me, the honest truth is: they would slow me down.

4) Spend more time with my dog – I don’t walk her nearly as often as I would like to, and I would love to take her to the dog park more often, especially with the sun coming out! Look at her, she’s so darn cute! I love my lil’ shiba and she deserves more quality time with her mama.

5) Enjoy my summer! – I FINALLY have my dream schedule at work: 6:00am to 2:30pm. Some people claim that’s too early, but I’m a morning person so it works PERFECT for me! I’ll be off at 2:30pm when the sun is blazin’, I’ll be working on my tan by the pool…. THAT’S RIGHT! The pool will be open and I’m right across the street from it! Too perfect, SO STOKED!

6) Become certified, teach TRX classes – Derek’s partner extended the offer of paying for my certification so I can begin teaching TRX classes at their fitness studio. We begin after my competition! They are hoping to bring in the female demographic and I am more than willing to gain experience and help out. The studio is a 10 minute walk from my work too!

7) GET A NEW GYM DAMN IT! – This needs to happen. I am SO over L.A Fitness! I’ve been saying it since I started this blog. I want to become a member of Iron Works right up the road from my house. Endless plyo equipment, countless TRX straps, so much space, so many possibilities! They also have tanning, so I would be able to cancel my Seattle Sun Tan and kill two birds with one stone.

8) Create a recipe ebook – I have developed a new liking for cooking and baking during this competition prep. I have created some pretty delicious food that is prep approved, and have a zillion ideas for healthy food that is unfortunately NOT prep approved. I want to create an ebook with all my recipes, take pictures, and provide nutritional information. I’m so excited to start using variety in my cooking, put my crockpot to good use, and feed my husband!

I’m sure there are plenty more I have forgotten to mention, but these are the main ones that keep playing on repeat in my head. I’m super pumped for this competition, I’m excited to get up on that stage, show off my hard work, meet people who share my passion, meet people I have been speaking with via social media, hopefully place well, and enjoy a hard earned meal. I have learned so much in 3 1/2 months, but I deserve the time off to relax and reflect. It’s been a looooong journey, and I’m finally in the ‘teen’ days! This is it! It’s almost over! Time to show them what I got 🙂 Huge thanks to my followers and the people who have supported me the whole way through ❤

~Jess