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chickwholifts

Because strong is the new pretty.

It’s Peak Week Y’all!

I’m now six days out and it’s been a total roller coaster of emotions the past two weeks. When other competitors say that you will be significantly fatigued for a prolonged period they weren’t kidding around. Tuesday night after my work out, I laid on my bed and proceeded to have a total breakdown. I had worked from 7 am to 5:30 pm that day and the day before with two hour crammed workouts right after work both nights with very little food in my stomach each time so I was thoroughly well beyond physically drained to say the least. So, let me rewind to last week and get you caught up on things.

Last Monday, I began taking daily progress pictures for my trainer so that he could adjust my salt and water intake accordingly. Monday and Tuesday I had to drink 1.75x my normal water intake (137 oz), which put me at 240 oz (about 2 gallons). I was up a few times a night peeing my brains out, to be completely honest, so my sleep quality dropped drastically, which in turn effected my progress and energy. Tuesday and Wednesday I was told to add a total of 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (for sodium loading) to my food for the day; I learned I really like soy sauce on broccoli. Wednesday, I began tapering water by 1 liter each day until today. Today, I am required to consume 1.5 gallons (160 oz) and then decrease it by 0.25 gallons (32 oz) each day until Friday when I’ll drink 0.25 gallons for the day. I will get ZERO sodium after Wednesday, so today I bought natural chicken breasts to slice and cook myself rather than the prepackaged ones. What I end up getting Saturday (show day) will ultimately depend on how my body progresses throughout this week and how much water I lose/retain.

Side note: Heidi Somers states in one of her Q&A videos that salt is bad and has no benefits and should be cut completely from any diet. NO. Iodized salt is important in brain development; iodine deficiency affects more than 2 million people worldwide, and is easily preventable with the use of iodized salt. Iodine deficiency causes mental retardation. Salt is good people! Just not if you are at risk of hypertension (it doesn’t cause hypertension just so you know). *Off my pedestal*

Along with water and salt changes, I’m getting more carbs now! YAY! John said I was more myself this weekend, which I contributed to the carbs. We began adding two plain brown rice cakes to my first two meals of the day Friday and Saturday; I didn’t get any today. Tomorrow I will get 2 at breakfast, and I will add two to one meal each day leading up to Friday where I will be having two at each meal for the first five meals of the day. Thursday at lunch, I will no longer have any veggies with my protein. Thursday will be my last day for cardio (thank God!).

I worked with my posing coach Saturday morning, just checking in and tweaking some things (adding, repositioning, etc.) for practice. She loved my posing and physique progress and reassured me that the weight I have left to lose will fall off this week, so I’m trusting the plan (as I should). I have several posing practice videos, but he quality is pretty low because John got a new phone with a crappy camera (should’ve stuck with Apple). I will be full body shaving on Thursday afternoon before my pharmacology exam. My tanning pro says not to shave more than 12 hours prior to your session. She also has no preference for shaving versus hair removal products like Nair or Hair Away; she just recommends whichever keeps the hair away the longest. Honestly, I’m still concerned with razor burn around my bikini line, so I may use the Hair Away initially and use a razor for touch ups later on if I missed some spots. Unfortunately, I’m still going to need someone to help me get my back and possibly other areas I can’t see as well so my poor roommates may be the victims. I began working on my base tan last week, and after three tans I’ve managed to add some color…. and get a little burned. Note to self: Make sure to THOROUGHLY get ALL areas with tanning lotion!

I’ve created a packing list for this week; I would share it but I don’t want to post it only to have to add several things later on that could help someone). Really the only things I have left to get are a lipstick of my choosing and some powder for touch ups (since I’m getting my make up done super early but won’t compete until late afternoon possibly).

There’s so much going through my mind right now with all that I have going on, but remembering everything that I want to share with you is hard work at this point. Also, it is time for me to go inhale some chicken and broccoli so I can go get round #2 of the stair stepper knocked out.

Let me know if you have questions or want a sneak peak at my packing list!

Happy lifting!!!!

26 Days!

Yup! That’s right! Exactly 26 days until I get to walk across that stage in Waxahachie! My suit came in last week, and no you don’t get to see what it looks like yet. I still have a lot of body fat to lose based on how I look in my suit currently; honestly, I’m terrified that I won’t make it to the size and body fat composition that I need to be before competition. My posing coach keeps reassuring me that the change is very sudden, just a few days out. So, for now, I’m staying strong with my diet and keeping faith.

I weighed myself this morning, and I’m down to 117.4 lbs. Definitely over what I would like to be at the moment; however, I’m blaming it on bloat since it’s that time of the month (and yes, that makes a HUGE difference). I’ve been seeing small changes in my hamstrings and upper abdominals, but until I’m done being bloated I won’t be able to see a whole lot. Fun fact! I worked with my posing coach recently, and she was very much impressed with my glute-ham tie-ins. “What are glute-ham tie-ins” you ask? Well, they are not muscles just in case that’s what you were thinking. The glute-ham tie-in is an area of definition between the most distal (lowest) end of the glutes and the most proximal (upper) portion of the hamstring muscles. How do you get the tie-in? Since the tie-in is not an actual muscle, you have to work the glutes and the hamstrings separately and get lean.

 

Another fun fact: Elevated cortisol doesn’t cause the body to store fat! Which is good news for me because I’m always stressed. Cortisol a stress hormone responsible for elevated blood glucose; it is released during emotionally, physically, chemically, and physiologically stressful situations from the pituitary gland. Your body consistently produces and releases cortisol for lipolysis; however, if this level reaches a “high dose” release state (impossible unless a pathology/illness is presented), then the body begins to deposit fat. Cortisol is often blamed for fat storage. I can’t tell you how many times my man has told me to relax otherwise my cortisol is bonn make me hold onto fat. So, technically, even though it does increase your blood sugar levels, it does NOT cause fat storage on its own! Just a little physiology for ya on this beautiful Monday.

cortisol_stress-diagram

I’ve been practicing my posing routine(s) 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes each time, if my schedule permits. I’m up to 48 minutes of cardio per day split up into two sessions. I’m still doing my trainer’s hamstring murdering leg routine every three days. I’m officially grounded form cheat meals for the remainder of my prep (*heart breaking*). I’m doing my best to eat my 7 meals per day, but since my hunger has been gradually increasing as of late it’s getting easier.

I have a lot to get done in the next 26 days before hitting the stage. Base tanning, re-dyeing my hair, pedicure, fake nails, etc. The list goes on and on, but a lot of it won’t get done until a week out or so (nails mainly).

Happy lifting!

 

What Equipment Do You REALLY Need?

I didn’t always have equipment. Shocker, right? By equipment, I mean gloves, wrist wraps, compression knee sleeves, powerlifting belt, and basically any device that should assist with lifting weights. I say “should” because sometimes these devices can actually be detrimental rather than helpful. I’ve been wearing gloves for the past few years as a personal choice; ripping one callous off during deadlift was enough to make me turn to gloves. Let’s face it, no one likes blood on the bar, okay? Gloves are relatively harmless, and I still have callouses even after all these years. So, let’s talk about the more “heavy duty” pieces of equipment.

Powerlifting Wraps

Powerlifting wraps come in a wide variety of lengths for specific uses. Generally,the longer the wrap, the larger the joint that it’s meant for. For example, knee wraps are usually 2-3 ft long; whereas, my wrist wraps are maybe a foot long. I only use my wrist wraps when I’m doing flat bench press at higher weight (100+ lbs) or trying for a new 1RM. Using these wraps at lower weights can be detrimental if used consistently for too long. How? Eventually, performing other exercises at similar or even lower weights will be too difficult on the joint you wrap. Personally, my wrists couldn’t handle bench pressing over 80 lbs for the longest time because I ALWAYS used wrist wraps. Not only that, but incline press, decline press, flys, etc. also put a lot of strain on my wrists and made lifting difficult without wraps. Only resort to using this sort of equipment when you begin hitting weights that you struggle with significantly or if you begin to feel strain (NOT PAIN!) in that joint while lifting. Wraps should not be used for low weight-high rep type work outs; you would be cheating your joints out of the strain necessary to keep them strong and healthy! The same idea goes for knee and elbow wraps, as well. My wraps are basic red-line Schiek wraps.

Weight Belts

Weight belts are usually thick, stiff, leather belts designed for squatting or deadlifts. They profide support to your lower back while driving with your legs. They are incredibly stiff for a reason- to provide support and stability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people that can’t deadlift properly without a belt and throw out their backs but then start using a dang weight belt. If you can’t lift properly WITHOUT a belt, what the heck makes you think you can lift any better WITH a belt?! Aye aye aye! Let me step off my pedestal again. Function follows form in the case of lifting; you’re ability to lift heavy and safely is determined by your ability to lift correctly. Don’t bother investing in lifting equipment until you learn to do more complicated lifts without assistance and injury. I’ve used a weight belt before, and it’s incredibly helpful on occasion, such as when I’m doing heavy box squats (225+). I prefer not to use one for deadlift or regular back squats because I want to make my back stronger during those lifts. I suggest Rogue Fitness belts, Harbinger, or Schiek So, use weight belts with discretion.

Compression Knee Sleeves

I just got my first pair of knee sleeves this weekend as an early Valentine’s Day gift from my man. I had been wanting a pair for quite a while, but they are typically very pricey (about $30-40 per sleeve). Yes, they are sold individually, not in pairs. There was a night that I was doing some heavy leg work (heavy back squats followed by heavy box squats followed by heavy leg press, you get it) and during leg press I began to feel mild aching in my left knee. So, I stood for a while, stretched it, massaged it, worked out the pain, but as soon as I sat back down the pain fired back up to the point I couldn’t lift anymore. The pain didn’t last through the night, luckily, but it did make me consider alternative exercises and getting wraps, for those days I just want to lift heavy (or heavier). J got me the blue Rehband support wraps. I’ll keep you posted on this experience in the near future.

Grip Wraps

These are similar to wrist wraps, however they are particularly designed for pull-type exercises (deadlift especially). J has a pair that he uses pretty often. They latch around your wrist and have long straps that you slide around the bar repeatedly until your hand is in contact with the strap as it’s wrapped around the bar. This piece of equipment allows you to lift heavy regardless of your grip strength. Some days, I wish I had a pair for when I deadlift and can’t for the life of me hold onto the bar long enough to get it up. J’s wraps are by Schiek.

Gloves

I have had all sorts of gloves. I pretty much shred them within 6 months. I currently have a pair of Harbinger gloves that are falling apart, and I have a pair of Bear Komplex gloves designed for crossfit. The Bear Komplex gloves are taking a while to break in because they are made from stiff leather, and you will get callouses between your fingers breaking these suckers in.

Keep in mind a lot of people call these pieces of equipment different names. I have bought most of my equipment at Academy, honestly. Other buying options, other than straight from the manufacturer, include Amazon, secondary suppliers (WalMart, Academy, some gyms, etc), and secondary websites.

Happy Lifting!

Check Me Out On YouTube!

I now have a YouTube channel where you can watch my posing progress as I get closer to show! Since I couldn’t figure out how to get the videos on my blog, I managed to put them on YouTube! YAY! Go subscribe!

Happy Lifting!

 

One Step Closer

Holy cow! These past few weeks have been insanely crazy for me! I’m getting back into the swing of things with new classes this semester and a nearly full-time job on top of my competition prep.

So, I’ll just jump into the meat of things and get down to business on the more important and most recent changes. I met with my trainer this past Saturday so that he could do a full physical evaluation on me before I ordered my suit (more on that to come I promise!). His verdict? We changed my diet… A LOT. Now, I get my choice of lean protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, fish) but I have to get 20 g for each meal, and I am up to 7 meals a day now. Also, I get 2-3 cups of greens (asparagus, broccoli, you get the picture). I get 1/2 an avocado with breakfast and meal #4, 1/2 cup of cream of rice (weird right?) before my AM work outs, and protein shakes on Saturday and Sunday only at breakfast before my workout. I pretty much get my choice of food for the next few weeks. Keep in mind, I’m 8 weeks out!

Also on Saturday, I got to work with my posing coach for the first time! She has competed in both bikini and figure, so she’s the best person to help me prepare! We made it through my entire posing routine, from stage entrance to sign off and exit. She seemed super impressed with how much I already knew (and my quads lol), and was very pleased with my ability to catch on and my confidence. We did not, against popular practice, work in front of a mirror. It is best to physically learn where your body needs to be without visual cues. This will make it easier to land the poses on stage when it really counts. I’ll have to try to set up a YouTube account so that I can share my videos with you! John was such a trooper helping me out with taking videos!

As far as my suit goes, I’m waiting another two weeks before ordering for money purposes. With Valentine’s Day and me and John’s anniversary coming up this month, money is a little on the tight side at the moment. BUT I FNALLY settled on a color, cut, connectors, and everything! I also purchased my jewelry! Next step, I have to start working on a base tan and talk to a potential make up artist up in Dallas. EEK! Everything is coming together!

I’m still doing my leg day every three days and my hamstrings have made incredible progress. I can actually see them now! I’m still nursing a shoulder injury in my left shoulder, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better so I may resort to having to make a visit to a sports physician if I don’t see improvement in the next few weeks. I’ve been trying to take it easy on chest work since that seems to be when it hurts the most. I’m starting some rotator cuff exercises and added regular icing to my shoulder throughout the week to see if it helps. I’ll keep you posted.

Tomorrow is cheat meal day, and I have selected funfetti pancakes and a caramel cappuccino from Starbucks for breakfast before work as my cheat meal! In case you were wondering, theres a pre-made funfetti pancake mix you can get at the grocery store. All you do is add water (because I’m a lazy cooker)!!!

How are your NY Resolutions coming along?

Happy lifting!

My Hammies My Hammies!

My home work outs didn’t last very long lol oops. I made it back to the gym last Saturday while I was visiting John in Katy. My trainer has me on a new work out regimen and it’s killer! Here it is:

8 Giant Sets of…

  • 1 minute walking lunges progressive loading
  • 15 stiff leg deadlifts progressive loading
  • 8 seated/lying negative hamstring curls (constant weight)

Then, I finish it all off with 5×20 hyperextensions (constant weight) and 100 roll outs. This is to be repeated every three days. I’m still sore from the first day I completed this work out!

I’ve also restarted my cardio program from the bottom, so I’m no longer on the treadmill for an hour and a half a day. Today, I managed to complete 35 minutes of speed intervals on the stair stepper with sore hamstrings.

I’ve been concerned with making my biceps and triceps larger, so I’m going to expand my bicep and tricep workout regimen, as well.

So, competition day is 81 days away, my NPC membership card should be on its way, and I have completed my contest registration form. Upon pay day, I will send the remainder of the registration materials for my contest. I was cruising the contest page and I was excited to see information on companies that will provide hair and make up and tanning services to competitors. I know that they’re at a discounted rate for competitors, but I’m not sure how much of a discount I would get. Regularly, full hair and make up services provided by Flawless Hair would cost $260 without a discount. Tanning services will be provided by Future Image Tanning, although I’m not sure how much they will be charging. I’ve been looking up self-tanning tips, make up tips, etc. in preparation for the big day!

The last of my self-tanning products from Pro Tan USA (Amazon) arrived the other day. I have already tested out the Hair Away and I’m satisfied with the results. I applied a thick layer of the product to one leg as directed and let it sit for 4 minutes exactly (4-5 minutes is recommended, but it should definitely not be left on for more than 10 minutes). I shaved the other leg as a control to see how fast the hair would grow back. The shaved leg became fuzzy again faster than the leg I used the Hair Away on, so yay! No money wasted! But it’ll take probably the whole bottle to cover my entire body.

I get to order my suit in 3 more weeks! AH! So excited! I won’t reveal (or at least I’ll try not to) the color or look of my suit until competition day, so bear with me! I have a ton of preparation to do before contest day, but I’m so excited to see progress again!

Happy lifting!

Getting Back To It

Saturday marked the beginning of 13 weeks of strict dieting and working out… again. I’m honestly sick of looking in the mirror and seeing all of the progress that I lost over my four week break, and I’m excited to start seeing changes again. I’ve already dumped all my junk food (on my family) and thrown out almost everything that could tempt me (minus my roommates’ food). I’m really excited to start seeing progress again.

I won’t order my competition suit for another 4-5 weeks (8 weeks out from competition), but each day is torture because I’m super excited to finally get it! As promised, I have begun testing the products I ordered from Amazon. So far, only two have arrived: Hair Away by Muscle Up and Show Shine by Muscle Up. The hair away is the first one I have tested, and the only one I have tested, so far. Unfortunately, the directions require that I apply a small amount to a small area for 2 minutes and then rinse and wait for 24 hours to make sure I do not have an allergic reaction to the product. Once I am reaction-free, I can test the product on a larger surface area, applying a thick layer for 4-5 minutes. This product makes John happy because now he won’t be stuck trying to shave the parts of me I can’t reach prior to tanning for competition lol.

So, while my gym is closed for another week, I have resorted to buying $60 worth of home equipment from WalMart to get me through. I bought:

  • Pull Up Bar
  • 15 lb Kettlebell
  • Yoga Mat Knee Pad
  • Roll Out Wheel (I’ve actually had this)
  • Jump Rope

IMG_9968

Today, I tried a mild full-body circuit consisting of 5 sets of:

  1. 10 roll outs
  2. 10 push ups
  3. Body weight squats to failure
  4. 5 chin ups
  5. 10 bicep curls per arm with the kettlebell

I want to see how my body handles that tomorrow before increasing the number of sets or the intensity. Lord knows how I like to jump back into my work outs full throttle and barely be able to walk the next day. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes, and when I come up with more circuits to try I’ll share them with you! John bought me a pair of custom sized cross fit lifting gloves for Christmas that I’m super excited to start using! But alas, I cannot for a while. I’m able to start breaking them in with my kettlebell though lol.

IMG_9966

Have any questions about competition prep, dieting, or work outs? Give me a shout!

Happy lifting!

Hell Week(end)

I know it’s been a long time since I last checked in with y’all, but a lot has happened. Last week i submitted all of my work and school is officially over with until January 19th. I finally made it back to the gym for a killer leg work out last Wednesday, and I was still feeling the pain through Saturday. Also, I came down with a nasty case of tonsillitis that I’m still bouncing back from on Friday. I had gone to the doctor on Thursday complaining of throat pain, knowing what it was, but the doctor told me that it was probably a respiratory infection that he could do nothing about.  So, I sucked it up and sure enough Friday I woke up with a 100.1 degree fever and my throat was nearly swollen shut. Of course, I went back to the doctor (a different doctor), shaking and rocking the whole time in pain, and he was convinced I had tonsillitis. I immediately began antibiotics and I have been on the up-and-up since then, thank goodness. Poor John came to visit this weekend and got stuck taking care of me. He was a real trooper though.

Just two more days of work before I go to Dallas for Christmas with my family, and just 5 more days until I begin my strict diet again. I’m super freaking excited, but I know it’ll be a struggle because I’ve been eating sugar again. My Secret Santa at work got me an entire jumbo tub of Nutella… Yup. The struggle is totally real right now. And work is torture because sweets and junk food is everywhere right now. Fingers crossed for a successful restart!

I recently purchased several goodies from Amazon for competition that I’m excited to try out. I bought:

  • Pro Tan Show-Shine Ultra-Light Posing Oil
  • Performance Brands Bikini Bite Suit Fastener
  • Pro Tan Overnight Competition Color
  • Pro Tan Get Buffed Pre-Tan Body Scrub Skin Balancing Exfoliator
  • Performance Brands Hair Away Creme
  • Bridal earrings (also for competition)

I’m definitely going to test these products myself prior to using them for competition in March, and I’ll definitely include a full review of each product when I do! I still have a lot more to purchase, but they will have to wait until after Christmas when I have money (lol).

I wish I could work out tomorrow, but the Rec center will be closed for the next two weeks so I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do about that yet. But I’ll let you know what I do!

 

Happy lifting!

I Heart Back Day

Seriously. I heart me some back work outs. Lats especially! I don’t really have normal “girly lats” either; I have what have been referred to as “wings” on multiple occasions by multiple people. It seems to be the most impressive muscle group on me at this point. They definitely stand out for sure.

I meant to get this work out posted on Tuesday after I KILLED it. Even though my time was limited, I squeezed in as much as I could with what little time I had. I included some bicep work outs to help them grow.

  • Deadlift Ladder: Warm up set at 155 8-10 reps, 2×8 205, 1×3 235, 2×1 245, and back down
  • 6×12 35 lbs hammer curls
  • 6×12 100-110 lbs seated trap rows
  • 6×5-8 30 lbs single-arm curls on the pulley
  • 6×8 55 lbs each side seated rows
  • 4×8 40 lbs overhead press & upright rows

I honestly hate upright rows and overhead press because they’re really uncomfortable for my deltoid tendons and wrists; I usually feel a rolling sensation that I shouldn’t be feeling in my shoulders. I may try the pulley instead of a bar next time and see if it helps.

Have any struggle groups you need to work on?

Happy lifting!

 

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