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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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

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

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