This week has been very hard – but I’m glad. Since we landed from our vacation to CA last week I’ve had terrible jetlag, and I’ve still been having big problems with my sacroiliac joints and piriformis muscles. But I think I’ve made a breakthrough.
Even when the pain from my hips is excruciating I still pull myself up and go to the gym. When I get there I spend about an hour warming up (quick walk on the treadmill set at a high incline), then do dynamic stretches that Johanna has given to me as well as the ones my chiropractor gave me. I’ve also been spending a bit of time on my own researching and trying to figure out what is going on and how I can help it on my own (heat/ice/stretching/rest). By the time I get home I am exhausted. People have asked me “why are you doing this? Why not just take a break or call it quits?” <- just writing that sends a wave of heat through my body!
The reason I’m doing this competition is much more than to just prance around on a stage in high heels and a bikini showing off a toned body.
Around the middle to end of last week, literally unable to get up from the sofa because my back hurt so bad, I was even thinking to myself “Do I really want to do this anymore?” The answer is yes. In life I’ve had to overcome a lot of physical and systemic injuries/illnesses that have “taken me out of the game” and if there’s one metaphoric muscle I’ve built up over time it’s grit. (Certainly Rasmus might question me on this when complaining and limping across town, stopping in the middle of an intersection to stretch, or asking him to go to the grocery store alone because I’m too tired!)
The thing is, I’m not quitting. Because I have something to prove.
I want to prove that I can have an injury and come back successful. I know I can overcome an injury or illness and “be ok”, “survive”, and be seemingly “normal” but now I want to succeed. I don’t want to just say “oh yeah, well I didn’t do the show but my back is feeling better” or “yeah, I did the show but I’d been hurt so the results weren’t what I wanted.” I’ve gone through sport after sport, competition after competition, where my goal is just to finish because I’m actually suffering from some kind of major illness or injury. I’ve had so many people tell me “Good job! We’re proud of you for trying, you looked great!” when I came in last place, or the middle of the pack. Certainly there were times where I won, medaled or qualified for something – but not to my satisfaction, or not under conditions that I felt were noble.
Having officially completed the first five weeks of training, with 15 to go, I can already tell that the next 5 weeks are the part where it’s “fun hard.” Overall the first five weeks were fun and challenging but still exciting. Going into the second set of five weeks (knowing there are 10 more after that) I know it’s about to get tough. Going to the gym has become a regular thing, I recognize people, I know where the machines are – I even have my favorite locker. It’s not “new” anymore. I know I have a competition to put my mind to, and that’s where my head needs to be. I got a bit side tracked the last few weeks by the injury, but now that I sort of know how to help it heal once and for all – I can get my head back in the real game.
This week Johanna has given me a new meal program and workout program. My calories are still fairly high, but they will be cycling. On leg days I have high macros, then they decrease for a few days until on my day off they are quite low although with a high fat. She has a very complex technique to this with a focus on fat burning, muscle gaining, and a lot of attention being paid to female hormones. My workout plan has increased but she has me paying a lot of attention to warming up and stretching my back/hips, quite a few rubber banded exercises have been added as well. With my weekly photo check-ins she is able to notice which areas need more work, which look good, and what will change.
Already I can tell that my body has changed a lot. This morning Rasmus jokingly pulled me back by my waist and was like “WOAH! you’re have gotten so strong!” which was so cool! My legs are looking super lean and defined, I have abs, my shoulders are quite a bit more pronounced, and my face has leaned out a lot. My body still has some fat on it which is totally fine, I have many weeks to go and this week the cardio begins to go up. I still need to put on and define more muscle so keeping fat will be important for the coming few weeks as well.
A few other factors that are helping keeping me going are: Rasmus’s support and motivation, Johanna’s support and commitment, my own inner motivations, prayer/meditation, the pure drive to feel complete in doing something well, and also keeping my head in the game by reading/studying this actual sport. I’ve learned a lot about different workout techniques (thanks for introducing me to his technique videos Johanna!), the different bikinis (Samba Couture’s design in header picture), posing ideas (PS I’m terrified for this part!!). It’s all about staying in the moment, and digging in.
Years ago when I was about ten years old my grandmother was over and I was outside jumping rope, she came out and said “Jump! Jump all you can now. I have arthritis now and wish I still could. Someday you won’t be able to.” Every time I have a jumping workout now I think of her saying this. She has since passed away. She spent her life terribly uncomfortable after having broken her back as a teenager and then getting arthritis. Even when I myself had injuries or was so sick doctor’s told me sports might not be in my future, or people told me to pick something “easier,” I would think about her saying this and realize “I can still jump! I love jumping! Why would I stop?” I want to jump and use my body for as long as I can, because I have always loved fitness and I’ve had the reality of having it taken away from me before.
This weekend I fell apart a little bit, feeling confused about why certain things were going a certain way, had happened a certain way, and where they were going. Rasmus talked to me about my thoughts, and helped me calm down. Then I decided to watch a little Joel just to really understand myself.
Ironically the program that popped out to me the most was Joel‘s preaching from July 16th, “The Twenty First Day.” He talked all about being grateful for what you have, to pray with gratitude from everything you value and have been blessed with. It’s important to keep your goals and wishes in mind, and pray for those too, but don’t dwell on them or feel sad when something doesn’t happen right then. God has a plan, you will get what you want but in due time. It might be tomorrow, two months from now, or twenty years from now – but God’s working on it, and he always has a plan. (and yes, Rasmus is probably rolling his eyes right now thinking “Why do you have to say God is doing all this? Give yourself credit!” but I like to think God has my back, he’s done some outrageous things in my life that can only be described as biblical!) Right now I’m focused on being grateful to have the opportunity to train for this competition, to be surrounded by awesome and supportive people who push me to be my best, to be in a physical condition that I can do this; and to be doing something so intense that I am able to feel more motivated than ever.