Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NPC Northern Prep--3 Weeks Out

3 weeks out from my second show this season and my willpower is definitely waning. The toughest part for me right now is waking up crazy early to do 45 minutes of fasted cardio. I know it will all be worth it once I am up on that stage, but as good a sport as I am, I will be really upset if I don't make top 5 this time around.

My physique has improved significantly over the past 3 weeks since my first show. I am really proud of the progress I have made and the self control I have developed since starting this prep. I am competing in both novice and open for this show. I haven't placed in the other NPC show I did, so I can still qualify for the novice division.

My parents are coming for this show, which I am super excited about! My dad has never gotten to see me compete, but my mom came to my last NPC show 2 years ago in Boston. I can't wait to have them here, and more importantly to have a margarita with them afterward!!





The diet: 

I just really want tacos and margaritas...but I guess I can hold out for 3 more weeks! I've gotten more creative with my seasoning blends on my food and that has helped a ton, but eating most of it cold is still rough. I am constantly running around from meeting to client to demo and back again, so I often eat in my car, meaning I don't have access to a microwave. I eat a ton of food throughout the day, but no carbs. At this point, I still have 1 cheat meal per week and I plan those out the week before to make sure they're worth it! Can you tell I really like food? 

I'm really not having any cravings, but do miss the energy and strength I felt from eating carbs. I miss that powerlifting fuel: pancakes, donuts, bananas, oatmeal, english muffins...YUM! But soon enough...

The exercise: 

Cardio sucks. It works, but 45 minutes of fasted cardio is not what I wish I was doing every morning at 4am! I was having trouble breaking past the plateau I was stuck at right around my last show, but upping my fasted cardio game is making a big difference. I haven't measured it, but I would say I am around 12% body fat right now. 

I work out every day, but one day per week I just lift and don't do fasted cardio and one other day I just do fasted cardio but don't lift. Because of this aggressive program, I don't have much time to let my central nervous system recover throughout the week, so I can feel myself being really tired and irritable. I try to get enough sleep to make sure I allow for as much recovery time as possible, but with everything I need to get done in a day for my business, this is a tough goal to stick to! 

The posing: 

It's getting so much better! I looked back through some of the pictures from my past shows and wondered what in the heck I was doing! I am so thankful to have the guidance of a seasoned prep coach this time around. I was reluctant to invest in a coach, but being told what to do and change has helped eliminate a lot of stress from the prep.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Beauty Hacks

I am definitely a culprit of spending too much money on hair and skincare products, but I have been shopping smarter this year in preparation for opening my gym in August! In researching for my own use, I have learned a ton of tips and tricks to get the most out of my beauty products while sticking to my budget! I haven't even tried all of these, but these two websites have helped me out a ton.

Here are some of my favorites:

#6 in Cosmo's article is amazing and I only wish I had discovered it sooner. I am sure I would have saved countless manicures growing up! All you have to do is fill a bowl with ice water before you paint your nails (so you don't mess them up prepping the bowl) and then hold your nails under the cold water for 5 minutes and they should come out nice and dry! Still be careful when drying yourhands of course.


#7 changed my life. I have always had trouble finding a concealer I like. Come to find out, it probably wasn't the concealers I had been trying, but the WAY I was applying them. To get the flawless look we all desire, you need to draw a large arrow pointing down toward your cheek. This helps the concealer blend in with the rest of your makeup and minimizes the look of under-eye bags!


#9 is all about contouring. I never used to contour because it seemed so advanced and scary, but it's actually super easy and you don't need a fancy kit! You can just grab 2 concealers or foundations; one should be 2 shades lighter than your skin tone and the other 2 shades darker. Then just pull up a picture of an exaggerated contour (or use this one) and you'll be good to go! Just make sure you blend it in with a makeup sponge or a brush so it looks natural.


#10 sounds magical. I haven't tried this one yet, but using shaving cream for the quick fix of getting foundation off of something is a way better solution than changing and hoping the makeup comes out later! Now the real questions is, how do I easily get deodorant stains out of all my shirts when I don't have time to wash them right then?! Ugh.


#15 really does work! I used to always buy mascara primers to put on before my first coat of mascara, but now that I know this trick I can save money and have makeup that lasts all day with no flake! I do one coat of the powder and 2 coats of mascara for daytime wear, and then 2 coats of powder and 3 coats of mascara if I am going for a bolder night-time look!


#18 is one of my all-time favorites. It sounds weird, but the tea bags have caffeine in them and holding them under your eyes for even 5 minutes will make a noticeable difference! Make sure they are cold though; this will provide an extra calming effect.


#5 in the hearty soul article will make your teeth whiter and more stain-resistant! It sounded super gross because of the combo of turmeric and coconut oil, but although it tastes strange it's definitely worth the 5 minutes! All you have to do is mix 1/4c coconut oil in with 2tbs turmeric powder and allow it to harden and then brush your teeth for 2 minutes and allow it to set for another 3 before rinsing your mouth really well. Do this 4x per week in circulation with your normal toothpaste.  

#11 is such an easy trick! All you have to do is mix 2tbs used coffee grounds with 2tbs coconut oil and apply it to your face 4x each week for 15 minute bouts. I apply it to my whole face like a mask, but this recipe says it's a good under-eye mask. I love the exfoliation and rejuvenating feel it gives my face! 


https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/how-to/a34056/best-beauty-hacks-ever-created/

 https://theheartysoul.com/unexpected-natural-beauty-hacks/


Friday, March 16, 2018

Healthy Chocolate Nut-Butter Protein Bites


I have a couple of events this week where I am a vendor, so I wanted to make a yummy and healthy treat people could enjoy while stopping by my table to hear all about MJ Fit. It was tough to control myself when I was making these--they are so yummy and low in sugar that I was able to build it into my macros for the day even with how strict they are right now! I knew everyone was going to be asking for the recipe, so I went ahead and printed out recipe cards to hand out at my table! If you keep the bites at about 1" per bite, this recipe should make 60-65 bites. Nutrition (per bite): 92kcal, fat-3g, carbs-12g (3g sugar), protein-4g.










Ingredients:

-2C Whole Grain Oat Flour
-2C Garbanzo & Fava Flour
-1.5C Nut Butter (my favorite is almond butter)
-3/4C honey or agave (my favorite is honey)
-1tbs vanilla extract
-1/2C dark chocolate chips/chunks (optional)
-1/4C unsweetened applesauce (just in case it’s too dry)


Directions:

-Line a baking sheet (that can fit in the freezer) with parchment paper
-Mix all ingredients together until a hard dough forms 
-Shape dough into 1” balls and place on baking sheet
-Cover (for freshness) and place in freezer for at least 20 minutes
-Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

OCB Albuquerque Natural

I still can't believe it's over. I prepared for the show this past weekend for months and it went by so quickly. I am so grateful for my amazing friends and boyfriend who endured the long road trip to Albuquerque to support me all weekend! I really couldn't have gotten up on that stage this time around without such a strong support system!

To give you all an overview of what a show weekend really looks like, it all started Friday night with the first coat of tan. Again THANK YOU to my amazing boyfriend for helping lather the layers on bringing me closer and closer to another race. And yes, those are puppy potty pads we are using to avoid destroying our kitchen floor...


My show was on Sunday which is abnormal; they're usually on Saturday, but we were able to roll with it. So Saturday morning we woke up at 6 to reapply another coat of tan before we left. Once we had finished up, it was time to meet up with my friends who were generous enough to drive! We left town with a car full of all the gear and food I would need for the weekend around 7:30am. On the 6.5 hour journey to Albuquerque, I sat in sadness eating my saltless (aka flavorless) tilapia and green veggies while everyone else enjoyed gordita supremes and doritos tacos from Taco Bell... Talk about implementing some self restraint! But I had my eyes on the prize and knew all my hard work would be worth it! 

One of the highlights of the road trip was definitely when I was attempting to drink out of my gallon water jug at the same time we happened to hit a pothole...If you're unfamiliar with the tanning process of getting ready for a show, it's SUPER dark and does in fact streak if you get wet. So I am sitting in the back seat looking like an oompa loompa who just got stabbed while everyone else in the car stares at me in horror. Thank goodness we were coming upon a town! We ended up reapplying my tan in a McDonalds bathroom--gotta do what you gotta do, right?! Anyway, I survived and surprisingly got on stage streak-free! 


Once we got to Albuquerque, I headed to the host hotel to check in and get my polygraph test done. What I didn't realize is that I was supposed to choose a song for my final T-walk. Oops. So I chose a song off the house playlist that sounded upbeat and sufficient. We later realized it said F*#$ every other word in the second chorus...ugh. It didn't matter anyway though because the MC got all panicked during the show and didn't play anyone's music they had requested. 

Next was the polygraph test. I hate these. Not because I am using anything illegal or that it costs $50 for no reason, but because this is the atmosphere... sitting in a metal chair with a heart rate monitor around your chest and two of your fingers. There is a massive man alone with you in a hotel room asking you questions with dramatic pauses at the end as he waits for your heart rate to change. There is a camera to your right side and you are directed to stare at the door straight ahead the entire time. It's super awkward and uncomfortable and the man is making $50 EVERY 10 MINUTES. *eye roll*

We head over to our hotel after this to get situated and ready for dinner (which I knew I wouldn't actually be able to eat). Then the last coat of tan! Or so we thought... We then meet up with a friend who is also in town and head over to a BBQ joint. Don't worry though, I brought my bland tilapia and veggies! The BBQ looked amazing and my amazing boyfriend even ran across the street and broke into a closed hotel cafe to microwave my fish for me! Once we were finished with dinner, we headed to a brewery down the street that was really rustic and funky looking, but of course I didn't actually get a drink (not even water at this point). It was still great to get to sit and chat amongst friends! 

After we left, we headed over to our friend's Hilton hotel to find some space for me to practice posing in an effort to calm my nerves before the big day! We crammed ourselves into a small conference room and moved all the chairs so we could have a little room! Shoutout to my pro photographer boyfriend who wasn't afraid to get into some risky positions for a good shot. 


After a little posing, it was time for bed! So I laid down the black sheets I brought with me just in case any of my tan were to rub off, and ate some steak and four plain rice cakes... blech! What seemed like minutes later, I was up at 5am for my first meal: eggs and rice cakes. After finishing breakfast, I quietly began to get ready. Priority was given to the makeup since I had to make sure it matched my crazy dark tan! I have an airbrush makeup sprayer that is a lifesaver, but this time is was having a rough time and kept streaking. The makeup application took 3x longer than it should have been, so good thing I was up at 5am I guess! Next was the hair! Thankfully I got it highlighted while I was home a couple of weeks ago so it was looking fresh and blonde! The hair was easy; all I did was straighten and tease it. And now it's 8:30am and I am completely ready... but still have an hour until the competitor meeting at the venue 5 minutes away. That means NAP TIME! So I took a 30 minute nap and then got up to head over to the KiMo theater in downtown Albuquerque. 

The competitor meeting was surprisingly not very informative. The host of the show must have never had a public speaking role before because she just preached about respect for 40 minutes. Don't get me wrong, respect is important, but this spiel about respecting the judges, venue, each other, our hard work, the carpet, specks of dirt on the stage (okay, she didn't go this far...) was a bit much. Finally one of the judges cut her off and reminded her to tell us about required poses, order of the show, where to pin our numbers etc. Anyway, we finally got through it! 

After this very thrilling meeting, I went back stage to start getting dresses. Once I saw the other girls beginning to do the same, I realized I was WAY too light and needed to figure out how to darken my tan asap. So naturally I frantically called my bestie to grab all the tanning stuff from the hotel and to meet me in the bathroom once she got to the venue. It was like the McDonalds adventure all over again! So we claim the handicap stall in the bathroom blatantly labeled "NOT FOR COMPETITORS" since it was bigger and yolo (you only live once), ya know? 

Now I am looking better! Still not as dark as the other girls, but there is a pre-show top coat to put on yet and it's super dark. So I eat some more rice cakes to help absorb any remaining moisture, and get the finishing touches all in place before show time! I thought we were running a lot closer to my time on stage, so I had one of the other bikini girls help me put on the top coat and then reciprocated the favor by buffing out her pee streaks on her legs...no I am not joking. Now you want to do a bikini show don't you?! Haha 


Right before I walk on stage I am supposed to eat 2 large pieces of fruit, so I grab my bananas and head backstage to wait for my turn on stage! The idea behind the bananas is to fill out the muscles right before I go on stage, so I eat them and get lined up for bikini class A! We all walk out together but without much instruction, so come to find out this was the novice class, not the open class I am actually in. Thankfully I am on the end, so it's not horribly embarrassing when the stage manager grabs my arm from backstage to tell me this isn't my class... oops. 

So an hour later it's actually time for my bikini open class A. Yes, there were THAT many bikini girls. It look 15-20 minutes per class, and there were 4 classes. By this point, I am feeling bloated from the 2 bananas (I hadn't had fruit in 3 months before this) and tired from standing backstage in 5-inch heels for over an hour. Good thing my time of stage was brief...NOT. We were out there holding our poses for 18 minutes, and my back is still tight from all the arching! The goal is to hold your most flattering flexed poses while making it look effortless. Because there were so many of us out there at one time, they moved me and other girls around to be next to different competitors for comparison. It was a series of half turns, so to front, back and then walking forward and backward over and over again. 18 minute later, we were finished with pre-judging! 


 


Now it's time for intermission, so I change my shoes, put some pants on and head out to the audience to meet up with all my friends! They are all so amazing--they had taken TONS. The promised 45 minute intermission was (of course) and hour and 20 minutes and just like with pre-judging, bikini goes last for finals too. I decided to hang out in the audience for awhile to watch all the men perform their final T-walks and receive their awards, and once they get to women's figure I headed backstage to make sure I was ready to go! 

Another hour after I headed backstage it's time for the bikini open classes! I was #96, so I am standing in my place in line and see #93 come off stage and then head my name being announced...hmmm I guess it's a good thing I am paying attention! Keep in mind, this is the same host who couldn't seem to gather enough words for the competitor meeting that same morning. So this super slow, depressing song comes on for me to walk out to but I don't let it phase me. I strut my stuff on stage and completely disregard whatever funeral music they have playing in the background, which is absolutely not the song I chose at check-in... 

I am toward the end, so they finish up pretty quickly and then it's award time! I assume because our class was so huge, they decided to only bring back out the top 5, which wasn't me apparently. I was shocked to say the least to have not made top 5, but there's nothing I can do about it now. Game over, and it's time to meet up with my friends for FOOOOOOD! 

My friends were all equally as shocked and angry, but I am so happy to have the pictures showcasing all my hard work and couldn't have asked for a better support system to be there with me that weekend! My boyfriend even ran (literally) all over town trying to find me flowers for after the show. He finally found some in a tiny Asian market and had to tear apart multiple small bouquets to make his own flower arrangement, and it was BEAUTIFUL! We took some post-show pictures and then headed to a Mexican restaurant for a well-deserved post-show indulgence! Oh, did I mention none of my friends had eaten since breakfast and it was then 6pm? Food wasn't allowed in the theater... 





We bee-lined it to Sadie's for some highly-recommended New Mexican-style Mexican food! It. Was. Amazing. And overwhelming and emotional...I really missed real-people food! I got a combo plate with a chicken enchilada and a tamale. It was so delicious, but I felt like I hardly made a dent! There was also sopapillas and copious amounts of chips and salsa, so we were stuffed. Once we got back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit, I decided we should probably also get pie. There was a Village Inn in our hotel parking lot, so how could we resist?! After some apple pie a la mode, I was stuffed and ready for bed! 


Overall, it was a wonderful weekend with equally as wonderful company, but revolving your entire life around a goal for months and then to have nothing to show for all the hard work really stinks. Good thing I have another show in 4 weeks! I am working harder than ever and intend to give these remaining few weeks 150%! Let's see what I can bring to the NPC stage on April 14th!