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