Competition Recap & Why I’m Switching Back to Bikini Division

Hello and thanks for reading!

Lots of things have happened since my last blog, including my first NPC Figure competition! Here are some life updates:

First Figure Competition: Gave It My Best Shot!

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For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts, I competed in the NPC Bikini division 5 times during 2012.  I did pretty well! But my dream for many years has been to compete in the Figure division (where the girls carry more muscle.)  So I gave it a shot: I trained intensely (under the guidance of my Team Bombshell coaches) for 10 months for my first Figure competition, held in Culver City, CA.

It was a lot of fun, but I didn’t place well.  In all honesty, however, I understand why:

  1. I wasn’t lean enough. I learned the hard way this summer that one bite of this or that does add up.  Like many people, I have a bad habit of turning to sugary carbs when I’m tired or anxious. When I live alone, this isn’t a problem because I don’t purchase any foods that are not on my diet plan. But when I don’t control the food situation, and the stupid Double Stuffed Oreos are sitting on the pantry shelf staring at me, I struggle to avoid them. My willpower is usually pretty strong, but I’m human! I’m not perfect.  Anyway, these extra calories prevented me from looking as lean as I would’ve liked at the competition.
  2. I don’t have enough muscle yet. I don’t naturally have a muscular build and it’s hard for me to keep muscle on my frame. I certainly put every ounce of effort I had into my preparation—I lifted as heavy as possible 5-6 times per week, and I gave my body plenty of fuel to grow. And I did definitely add some muscle, but I looked small in comparison to my competitors.  When I went backstage at the show and met the other Figure girls, I immediately recognized that I looked… like a Bikini competitor wearing a Figure suit. Ha!

But all of this is okay.  I accept what is (admittedly I cried on the actual day of the competition, but after having a few weeks to assess the situation, I am feeling better).  I had to at least attempt to compete in Figure in order to understand why I wasn’t ready for it yet (a huge thanks to Gen Strobo, my Figure coach, for being the perfect combination of patient, encouraging, and firm with me as I prepped).

After speaking with my coaches, I am switching back to the Bikini division for now.  Competing in the Figure division will always remain in the back of my mind, perhaps for when I reach my late 20s or early 30s, but for right now, I think I will have more success in Bikini.  My goal is to look like a more muscular bikini girl, like Justine Munro or Brittany Tacy, pictured here:

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I plan to compete again in less than 7 weeks at the Ft. Lauderdale Cup in Florida.  I competed at this show last year and placed 4th in a very competitive class.  I’m going to have to drop some pounds between now and then to get back to my Bikini competition weight, so I am back on a rigorous cardio, weight training and diet regimen (and Oreos are not allowed in my apartment, lemme tell ya!) It is hard sometimes to balance school and training, but I prefer having a goal in sight.  It keeps me excited and motivated.

Thank you again for reading. I always enjoy hearing about others’ fitness goals, plans, struggles, etc., so please send me a message or leave a comment with what you’re up to! 

Some pictures from the show….

Huge thanks to my Bombshell teammate IFBB Figure Pro Tarah Mitchell. She did an awesome job on my makeup for the show! She also helped with my posing, and let me cry on her shoulder after prejudging. Such an incredible woman!

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I got a blow out at this cool blow-dry bar in Los Angeles! Can someone please do this to my hair every morning?

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*Funniest part about the picture below: check out  the band-aid on my knee…. that’s from falling on a treadmill! IT HURT!

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Team Bombshell Bootcamp Recap!

Last weekend I attended Bombshell Weekend Camp in Daytona Beach, Florida.  It was my second time attending.  The first time was one year ago when I was a camp “Newbie”.   This year, as a “Veteran”, I loved camp even more.  It was a relatively small, intimate camp, which I prefer over the bigger ones—I got to spend time with each of my wonderful coaches and catch up with them.

I stayed in a hotel with a wonderful teammate named Susan (find her Facebook page here).  She is a wife, mom of three kids, and she works—she has such a full plate, and still keeps up her amazing physique!

On the first evening at camp, the “Veterans” showed up after the new campers had already left for the day.  We had a great shoulder workout led by my friend IFBB Bikini Pro Lacey DeLuca.  Lacey pushed me to lift heavier than I thought I could, and she taught me to stop using my traps to assist me—big traps don’t look good on female competitors, so I need to prevent mine from growing.  Here’s a pic of Susan and another great bikini competitor, Barbara:

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We worked a lot on posing this weekend, which was invaluable for me because I had no idea how to pose like a Figure competitor.  It’s much different from bikini, and I have grown to LOVE it.  It just feels more like “me”. I’m not a naturally outgoing, sassy girl, so it was a real stretch for me to act out that role onstage—and in the end, if you look uncomfortable onstage, the judges can sense it.  I am certain that as a “Figure girl”, I will be much more confident onstage.

We ran a lot over the weekend—over the infamous bridge (a total of 4 times!), down to the beach to do a killer plyo workout, and all around Daytona Beach.  We lunged, squatted, jumped and worked out every muscle in our bodies—and I loved it!  Here is a silly picture of me after plyos (I am drenched in sweat but SO HAPPY!)

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The best part about camp is the connection between all the women.  Lots of people feel pretty confident in their clothes, but when they’re standing in front of a huge mirror in a tiny bikini and high heels with pale, un-tanned skin, a few extra pounds from the holidays, and the coach sitting on the floor directing poses, it’s not easy to feel confident.  We have to let it all hang out at camp—literally!  This vulnerability creates a bond between all the girls that is really wonderful.  We excitedly discuss each others’ upcoming shows and cheer each other on as sweat pours down our faces.

 Plan for 2013 Season

I sat down with my coaches, Rob & Shannon, to discuss my show schedule for the year.  I originally thought I might be ready for a June show, but since I am switching to Figure, it’s going to take more time for me to be really ready.  They don’t want to “diet me down” too fast—they want to take it slow, which is fine with me.  I’m in this for the long haul.  My big far-off dream is to become an IFBB Pro Figure competitor and be able to compete with the best in this business, which requires a lot of time, hard work, sweat and patience.

Three Days Til Showtime!

It’s Wednesday, and on Friday I’ll be flying to Florida for the Ft. Lauderdale Cup. It’s an awesome event featuring both IFBB pro and NPC competitors—and it’s all-girls! They even have a red carpet at the night show—it’s really fun.

Here’s a picture of me on my birthday last weekend, which was wonderful.  I know what you’re wondering–did I eat birthday cake? NOPE!  I am determined!  (But I will definitely be having some after the show this weekend!)

Progress From January to October 2012

This will be my 5th show of 2012, so I’m pretty used to the contest-prep routine by now.  My first show was in March, and 7 months later, I know I’ve improved a lot—physically and mentally.  I’m much calmer.  And I did much better sticking to my diet.  I’ll be totally honest—in every prep before this one, I cheated a little bit—just little bites here and there.  I didn’t think it really mattered, but it does!  I can see the difference in my photos this time.  I had to take drastic measures—I cleared out my apartment of extra food.  I had nothing in my cabinets/fridge except my meals I’d prepped for the week—which were frozen so didn’t I pick at them (yes, this is extreme—but bad habits are hard to break).

My wonderful coach Vanessa Campbell told me she thinks I look the best I have so far this year.  That made my day, and gave me the motivation to push through til the end—only 3 more cardio sessions and 2 more weight sessions now!

Improvement Season Begins

After this show, I think my 3-month “improvement season” will begin.  Essentially I’ve been in contest-prep mode since January, when I went to Bombshell Camp in Daytona Beach, FL and they kicked my butt into gear.  That’s pretty tough on your body!  I’ll cut it down to 1 cardio session per day, and lift heavier weights to create some more shape in my shoulders, glutes, back, etc—and eat more! (Yessss!!)

Are You Better Than You Were Yesterday?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how dangerous it can be to compare myself to other competitors.  I can really bum myself out if I spend too much time wishing I had someone else’s abs or arms or whatever—the truth is, in this sport, the point is to be better than your previous ‘version’.  And I know I am getting better as time goes on.  As I lean out during this prep, I can see muscles emerge that I didn’t really know were there!  It’s exciting.

I hope you are having success working toward your goals—do not give up, even if you’re having one of those days where you just want to throw up your hands in frustration. (If you ARE feeling like that—email or FB message me! I’ll try to help!) 

I’ll post pictures and updates as the weekend goes on—follow me on Twitter, too (@LegallyFitKatie).

Progress from December 2010-September 2012

Sometimes when I’m frustrated with the pace of progress in my physique, I have to step back and look at old photos to see how far I’ve come.

Don’t give up! Every little effort you make DOES make a difference. When you add them all up, major changes happen.

3 weeks out from my next show–the Ft. Lauderdale Cup!  Time to tighten up and lean out a bit & I’ll be ready :-)

Legally Fit Version 2.L

Holy. Cow.

That’s the only way I can describe these last three weeks. It is my second year of law school, and here’s the good part:  I am doing lots of interesting, worthwhile things both on- and off-campus.  I’m also competing again in 6 weeks (October 20), then again a couple of weeks later (NPC Nationals on November 9-10 – this is the BIG show where I try to earn my pro card again).   The bad part:  I am on the brink of overwhelmed.  So far, I’ve been successful in balancing everything, but it hasn’t been easy. I will be grateful for “improvement season” after I compete at NPC Nationals in November.

(For those who don’t know, “improvement season” (also called the “off-season”) is when competitors spend time away from the stage, making improvements in their physiques to unveil in the spring.  Our diets relax a little bit and we do less cardio.)

Currently I’m sitting in an airport waiting for my flight to Vegas do a job interview tomorrow morning at 9 AM.  After the interview I will have posing practice with IFBB Bikini Pro Skye Taylor, which I am very excited about.  Then I fly back home to catch up on all my reading and assignments.

Training Update: Headed in the Right Direction!

Training is going well.  I never miss a weight training session (admittedly, I did miss a cardio session or two when I was in the middle of moving into my new apartment.  I am not perfect.  I always try to make up the sessions, however, if I have to skip them.)

My physique is making great changes.  And you know what the difference is?  Living by myself.  Living with roommates is fun, but my cravings are much worse when I see their peanut butter/cereal/etc. in the kitchen.  When I live alone, I don’t keep ANY foods that aren’t on my diet in my apartment.  I just don’t buy them.  I always think about buying them (I can’t help but stare longingly at the wall of peanut butter options when I go to the grocery store) but my willpower is pretty strong, and I don’t put them in my cart.

The result of this discipline?  My bodyfat is lower than ever!  I don’t measure the percentage, but I can tell in the mirror and photos.  When I’m lifting weights, particularly my shoulders, biceps and triceps, I can see all sorts of muscles, and I LOVE IT.  It makes all the hard work feel so worth it.

Today at the gym a friendly older guy came over and asked if I was “doing that Figure show in October”.  I told him that I was Bikini competitor with aspirations to compete in Figure.  He seemed convinced that I would be ready for Figure now.  That completely made my day;  I could have hugged him (so I guess some of the ‘creepers’ are harmless, huh Sean?).

Next Show: 6 Weeks Out

I am six weeks out from the Fort Lauderdale Cup.  I think/hope this will be the best I’ve ever looked. My coaches have been trying to add some more muscle to my upper body while keeping everything tight and toned.  I also have a beautiful brand new suit that is much for flattering for my body.  I think this will help bring the whole ‘package’ together.

In conclusion, I’m pushing my body and brain to their limits over these next few weeks.  But it takes challenging times for me to discover how strong I actually am.  I’m also trying to be better about balancing a social life with school and training.  During my 1L year I wasn’t very good about that, but I’m going to try harder now to reserve at least one night per week to go out to dinner and have a fun cheat meal with people I care about.

What are YOU up to?

It means a lot to me when I get Facebook messages or emails from people telling me about their own journeys with fitness, eating clean, self-esteem, etc.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments.  Do you have goals for this fall?  Training for something?  I love hearing about it.

 **Update: I did the interview this morning.  The first thing out of the interviewer’s mouth:  “So tell me about these ‘fitness competitions’…”  He then asked me question after question about it for the next 10 minutes.  Ha!

 

Recap of NPC AZ Open, Upcoming Shows & Life Dreams

Hi everyone!

I have been MIA from my blog because it’s been a time of transition: I did a competition (the NPC Arizona Open), completed my summer judicial externship, moved back in with my family for a couple of weeks, and will be moving again in a week to start my second year of law school.  It’s also been a time of deep thinking about what direction my life is heading. I’ll explain more below…

The NPC Arizona Open July 2012

Regarding the AZ Open, I had a fun time and took home a fifth place trophy.  I am proud to have received a top-5 placing, especially because I seriously messed up my tan!  I tried to cut costs by applying it myself. It didn’t turn out so well.  For those who compete, you know how vitally important your tan is.  Under those blindingly bright stage lights, every flaw shows up.  A bad tan is distracting, regardless how great your body looks.  My tan was streaky and blotchy, but I didn’t realize it in the dim lights of my apartment.  By the time I tried to fix things, it was too late.  I was in tears a few moments before stepping onstage for prejudging.

Fortunately, I hired the professionals to re-do my tan for finals, so it looked great at when the trophies were presented.  But by that time, the judges had made their decisions.

The most important thing about this story is that I’ve learned my lesson!  Never again will I try to do my own tan without professional assistance.  It’s just not worth it.  After hundreds of hours sweating in the gym and diligently practicing my posing, I’ll spend the $80 or $100 on a professional tan.

What’s Next?

My next show will be the Fort Lauderdale Cup on October 20.  I am really excited about this show because (a) it’s near my birthday (October 13 – I’ll turn the big 2-5!); (b) it’s an all-girls show – no male competitors!;  (c) it’s about 11 weeks away, which gives me a bit of a break from stage-prep mode, and (d) several of my Team Bombshell friends will be in attendance and I can’t wait to see them!  After the Ft Lauderdale Cup, I plan to compete at the NPC Nationals in November in Atlanta (my 2nd national show – this one should be massive.)

When I say I’m taking a “break”, I should be honest that I don’t mean it in a normal-person sense.  I love the gym and no one can keep me away from it! Ha ha.  So I’m still training really hard, but adding in one or two extra small food “treats” each week.  I continue to watch my weight to make sure I’m staying within 5-7 pounds of my stage weight.  I do this because dropping a lot of weight before a competition is NOT fun, NOT easy, and NOT great for your body – trust me, I have experienced it.  Additionally, if you have a high percentage of bodyfat, it’s hard to see any changes happening in your body underneath that layer of fat.

The Journey of Life….

On a different note, lately I’ve been thinking hard about where I see myself in 5 or 10 or 20 years.  I really enjoy law school and I know that it is training me to be a better critical thinker, a stronger writer, etc.  But I also know that I’m deeply passionate about health, wellness and fitness.  I always assumed that my passion for health would have to remain my “hobby”, outside of and apart from being an attorney.   But after a deep conversation with a close friend today, I’m now able to step back and see that, eventually, my law degree and my passion for health & wellness WILL be able to fit together into a wonderful career where I (hopefully) make a difference in the lives of many individuals.  Just because I can’t see the exact roadmap yet doesn’t mean I’m not getting there – I have to see this as a “ten-year plan”.

For now, I’m going to just keep working hard each day both in the gym and in law school, and eventually things will work out – probably better than I could have designed them.

I love to hear from other fitness-minded folk, so please send me a message/post a comment with what you’ve been up to.  Do you have any current fitness goals/aspirations?

3 Days Out from NPC Arizona Open

I’m three days out from competing at the NPC Arizona Open in Mesa, AZ!  I am really excited about this contest because (a) it’s local so I don’t have to travel! (meaning: I don’t have to bring my food through airport security, terrified that they’ll take it away from me);  (b) my wonderful, supportive roommates are coming to watch prejudging on Friday night, and my dad & sister are coming to finals on Saturday;  (c) it’s a regional (not national) show, so I’m not nervous – just excited.  I’ve been to this venue before and it’s really cool. 

This competition prep has been less stressful than previous ones, because I stayed within about 5-6 pounds of my contest weight (about 125).  It’s much easier on my body to remain constant and not have big weight fluctuations.  The diet is always tough, but at least this time I’ve been able to consume more carbs than usual to keep my muscles full and round. 

Until this week, I had one cheat meal per week, so that was nice.  I usually crave sweet potato fries.  Over the Fourth of July I went to San Diego with my best friend, and beforehand I conducted research to find the best sweet potato fries in the area!  We also walked a couple of miles to track down an amaaaazing bakery with the BEST cupcakes!   (Last note about food:  have you guys seen the commercial for IHop red velvet pancakes??!!  I saw it at the gym and almost fell off the StairStepper. Post-competition meal, here I come!)

My next national show will be IFBB North Americans at the very end of August in Pittsburgh.  This will be my second attempt at earning my IFBB Professional status.  The best part about this show is that I will have brand new suit from CJ Elite Competition Suits!  CJ is well-known in the industry for making exceptional suits.  I didn’t realize how important a high-quality suit was until I’d done a few competitions and seen how CJ’s suits stand out and flatter the body.  It will be bright BLUE!  I can’t wait!

Lastly, a new friend of mine recently gave me a hard time about the fact that I can only do 3 pull-ups.  Now it’s a challenge: I have to beat him in a pull-up competition.  The foolish person who initiated this challenge clearly doesn’t know me very well yet.  When you tell me I can’t do something, my response will be…  “WATCH ME.” :-)