Pulse Check

reach-outSince my last post I’ve been working on myself, mentally and physically, and rebuilding my relationship with my dear husband, Jason.  My emotions are still up and down.  Case in point, I started this blog on Sunday and was super pumped and positive.  It’s now Tuesday, I made the mistake of weighing myself and now I want to suplex then immediately atomic leg drop the next person who so much as says hello to me.  Anyway, I must say my last post was awesome.  Not awesome in that I’m patting myself on the back for stringing a bunch of words together into a blog post, anyone can do that, but awesome due to the response I received from so many people.  Several people approached me at my own gym to introduce themselves, ask questions or offer encouragement.  Some woman even came up to me in Costco one day – “Hey!  You’re Corynne from LA Fitness!  I see you all the time.  I read your blog!”  On top of that, to date I have received 42 emails from readers, men and women, but mostly women.  Some were offering encouragement, which I greatly need and appreciate.  However the majority, majority meaning 30+, wrote to tell me they are currently going through similar issues or have experienced certain issues previously and are blaming their contest prep.  All who wrote to me told stories of going days or even weeks without any form of carbs, even veggies (!!), endless cardio sessions, muscle cramps, headaches, insomnia, night sweats, elevated heart rate even though sitting still, blood in their urine, hair falling out, blood shot eyes, disordered eating, rapid weight gain after a contest followed by the inability to lose the weight…I could go on and on.  Each person said they were fine, or ‘normal’, before they got into the sport but now that the show is over they are dealing with or have dealt with a brutal aftermath – mentally and physically.  It’s crazy. Many of the emails were from competitors who feel ruined after having only done one or two shows and a some, newbies to the sport and veterans, even said they wish they never would’ve competed at all because what they went through during prep and the post-show recovery isn’t worth it.  Others said they will never compete again.  I think one of the craziest stories (I won’t say anyone’s name) is from a gal who was so tired, hungry and overworked she passed out while sitting at her desk at work.  She woke up to a group of co-workers hovering over her!  She told her coach and his response was to drink more water but don’t eat anything because her show was “right around the corner”.  Really?  The sad part is she listened.  Even after all of that she never got lean enough to contend and did not place in her show.  Her coach should’ve been more sensitive and smart but since we should also take responsibility for our own lives this girl also mentioned SHE should’ve been SMART and taken her OWN health into consideration as well.  She admitted she had the “you say jump…I say how high” approach with her coach and looked to him for proper guidance, as the end all be all to competing and winning.  She ended her email with four simple words, “I’m never competing again!”  In the days following her accident in the office she spent a lot of time addressing the question of, “Aren’t figure competitors supposed to be healthy?  If you’re so healthy, why did you pass out?”  People already think competitors are crazy since we’re so anal, dedicated and regimented, but some also look to us as being experts on all things health.  Although no one is an expert, when one looks at our toned arms and washboard abs and our eating and fitness habits, let’s face it, an expert is how we are likely to be perceived, whether we like it/know it or not.  Seeing a competitor, someone who is supposed to be the epitome of health pass out due to hunger, dehydration, fatigue, etc. can be confusing, an oxymoron, and a turn off.  If you think about it, besides the thrill of competition, the little bit of cash awarded and the trophies, plaques and medals, isn’t living a healthy lifestyle the central reason why we are in this sport?  But, anyway, that’s a whole other story…

After hearing some of their stories I felt stupid complaining about my issues!  Some of their issues surpassed mine – prime example, one girl competed in an NPC show in September and is struggling with a 60lbs weight gain since her show.  Another girl is in therapy!  I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer because this truly is a great sport with lots of positives and I’m only presenting one side of it – the side I have experienced thus far.  Who knows, if I didn’t have these issues I would be blogging about all of my successes.  Many people compete in this sport and are successful and that’s a great thing.  I’m just revealing my story and a few excerpts from others.  I strongly encourage anyone to approach me (not if I’m eating or in the middle of a set 😉 or email me about this.  Talking about it has helped me more than you know and I’d love to help others in anyway I can.

Back to me…
I’m doing much better mentally these days.  Am I perfect?  Noooo.  Hell naw!  Do I still hate the way I look, all filled out and ‘pudgy’?  Yes!  Do I hate the fact that I have off-season boobs?  YES!  But I’m much better now than I was when I wrote my previous post – well, most days ;).  I’ve made some positive changes in regards to my relationship with my husband as well as my diet and training.   First up is my husband.  As I said before I spent the last year completely focused on me, my bodybuilding, my diet, my training, my isues…MY MY MY…ME ME cartoon-couples-red-heart-300x300ME.  For those of you who are married or in long term relationships you already know there can’t be too many MEs when you’re supposed to be a team.  Of course each person should have their own hobbies, passions, etc. but definitely not to the extent that I did.  I treated my dear husband like he wasn’t even there.  I’d pretty much only say hello and goodbye and if it wasn’t those two words I was yelling at him for something stupid like leaving his BBQ sauce on the counter or not putting a container in the pantry in such a way that the label was facing outward (yes, I did that.  I’m horrible, I know).  I did all this to him while he cooked my food, got up at 3am to drop me off at work so I could get one of my many daily cardio sessions in before I started my work day, and oh yes, I did this while he basically funded my entire bodybuilding dream – supplements, food, airplane tickets, hotels, entry fees, you name it.  Some of you may read this and hate me or call me a bitch under your breath.  Its’ okay, I deserve it.  During my prep I had blinders on.  I trained hard wanting to win and didn’t pay attention to much else.  Here’s the thing, after everything I put him through he was always the first one putting his arms around me, ProTan and all, when I stepped off stage.  He was the one up at 1am scrubbing ProTan off of my back after a show, and he was the first one to welcome me back to ‘normalcy’ without holding a grudge when my season ended.  He was standing in front of me when I removed my blinders.  One of my goals for 2014, as stupid and obvious as this sounds, is, if I am able to compete, to put my marriage first, no matter what.  Bodybuilding should only be a hobby, my marriage needs to be forever.

12-Progress-Bar-by-Bojan-JanjaninNow the diet and training…  I have a new diet coach by the name of Kyioshi Moody, 5x PNBA Mr. Natural Olympia winner.  His competition credentials and physique are amazing but that’s not the sole reason  why I decided to work with him.  Most importantly, I got the ‘go ahead’ from my husband after we both drilled him with questions, face-to-face, for almost two hours.  He is typically a good judge of character.  He also brought up the fact that what I had done previously hasn’t worked so why not try something new?  One of the first things Kiyoshi had me do was something I’ve never really ever done and something I bitched at him about for quite a while until I gave in, kinda.  His first request was for me to RELAX.  Quit weighing myself every single day, quit being so anal about weighing every morsal of food, spend time with Jason, try to enjoy this thing we take for granted called life, and take time off from the gym.  I adhered to all but one request – I didn’t take much…okay….any time off from the gym.  Remember, I was the crazy one who was on the stairmaster the day we got off the plane after my last show of the season.  #stupid.  Naturally, and as any competitor who enters the post season can attest to, I was gaining weight and filling out.  However, I was still under the crazy mentality that by going to the gym I would miraculously burn off any weight I gained and stay stage ready, even though my season was officially over.  Again, #stupid.  It’s amazing – I have a Master’s degree and consider myself to be an educated and intelligent individual but, man, I can be stupid sometimes.  I still find myself coming up with these crazy weight loss myths in my head – restricting calories, doing crazy cardio…SMH.  But, I did everything else he asked of me.  I have to believe I’m on the right path.  My husband had to hide the scale – if I saw it sitting there it would be too tempted to not step on it and take a peek.  And he yells at me if he catches me weighing my serving of protein powder.  With the gym, I didn’t take a break.  I still went but I most certainly slowed things down drastically.  I’m learning to love weight training again…a good idea considering weight training is what got me started in this sport in the first place.

I don’t feel like I’m back in the ‘right’ place yet but I’m getting there.  I’m doing the best I can.  Both Kiyoshi and my husband say to relax and not to rush things.  What I’ve done in the past most certainly has not worked so I guess I outta listen for a change and try something new.  I appreciate all of your emails and kind words.  Please keep them coming!

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Where do I begin?


The title of this post is exactly the question I’ve been asking myself for the last week as I’ve attempted to write this.  This post has been a long time coming.  I’ve started writing…stopped writing…then started again…then stopped…and now here I go again.  Let’s see how far I get this time.

Where do I begin?

This is a difficult post because when you look at me you’d think I’m this strong, unmovable woman that can’t be broken.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  Just the other day a fellow gym member approached me and asked, “Do you ever have a slow day?  Are you ever unmotivated?  Do you ever get tired?  You’re like a machine.  There’s no stopping you.”  Little does this person know that I’m actually not in the best place right now – mentally, emotionally or physically.

Where do I begin?

I competed in some shows this year and had an awful experience.  My season was successful in that I actually GOT on stage which is a lot further than the majority of the general population.  I even won another pro card.  However, it was completely unsuccessful in regards to HOW I got there and the aftermath I am now dealing with.  I’ve spent the last month picking up the pieces.  My self-esteem, my body image, and my mental state is crappy right now.  I’m not even sure I’m worthy of competing anymore.  People tell me I have the ‘goods’ and will be a champion very soon but after a string of horrible contest preps with lackluster placings I’m not seeing it.

Where do I begin?

At the risk of sounding like a drama queen there is one word I can use to sum up my 2013 contest prep – traumatic.  It was almost as bad as my 2011 contest prep (I took 2012 off).  Shyyyyt, both preps were ridiculous and have left a bad taste in my mouth.  Both preps, but especially the most recent, has left me very bitter, jaded and salty.  As of now, it’s official – I’m a hot mess.  I sometimes get depressed when I think about what I had to go through, or depending on the day I’ll get angry about it.  On another day I’ll swear I’ll never ever ever EVER step foot on a bodybuilding stage again.  F**K it!  Why willingly put myself through this torture?  But just after I say I’m done with it I find myself up at 4am the next morning making my protein shake and mixing BCAA water preparing to head to the gym so I’m there right when it opens at 5:30am for my usual early morning workout.  I’ll attempt to convince myself this sport is for the birds…as I robotically lay out a row of tilapia or chicken on a baking sheet to prep for the week.  I’ll tell myself that my career is over while I’m calculating my macros in MyFitnessPal.  What?

Anyway, to sum it all up my 2013 prep started in October 2012 and lasted for a freakin’ year – it ended in October 2013.  Yes, 1 YEAR!  I only had about 25ish lbs to lose.  I had surgery in October 2012 and started dieting as soon as I was able to after surgery.  As prep went on through the year it consisted of 2-3 hours of cardio a day and low or no carbs.  This horrible combination lead to muscle and stomach cramps, fatigue, nausea, headaches, insomnia, my hair started falling out, and I’d basically just feel sick all of the time.  …and not to mention because of all of this I was either a hermit, a bitch, or a combination of the two.  I neglected everything and everyone due to lack of energy, lack of time, and lack of motivation to do anything outside of bodybuilding.  I never saw my mom and dad (they live only an hour away) and although we live together, I would go hours without saying so much as ‘hello’ to my husband.  I somehow let this sport rule my life.  Bodybuilding is all I did.  When I say I ate, slept and breathed bodybuilding, I literally really did eat, sleep and breathe bodybuilding.  If I wasn’t at the gym, I was prepping my food…when I was done prepping my food, I’d plan my workouts…when I was done planning my workouts, I’d be back at the gym for round 2 or 3 of cardio or lifting…if I wasn’t at the gym for round 2 or 3, I’d be on the couch trying to sleep…when I couldn’t sleep, I’d cry or lash out at my husband (poor guy).  Some of you may think this is overkill and that prep doesn’t have to be this difficult.  Please don’t judge.  I really did try to keep a positive attitude but each person deals with prep differently and each person has to go to different lengths to get lean.  If you’re loaded up on carbs and not doing a whole lot of cardio of course you’re not going to be as edgy and tired.  My preps are a constant, non-stop push and I can never let up or else I feel like I’ll fall behind.  There were so many occasions when I’d cardio for hours and my diet was perfect (and by perfect I mean I’d be hungry all day) but then I’d wake up the next morning with no weight loss or I’d be even a pound or two HEAVIER!  Well, heck, had I known was going to gain weight I may as well have had the cookie, huh?  I’m not perfect – did I have days when I’d undereat?  Yes.  Did I have days where I may have overtrained?  Yes.  But I don’t think the few times I skipped meals or overtrained warrants the craziness that is my prep.  As I continued to push through it all I noticed my body was getting softer, not harder.  My abs were going away and the cuts in my legs were fading.  We would lower my macros and/or up my cardio and my body would seemingly reject itself even more.  The crazy part is when it was all said and done I did not nearly accomplish anything at all I had hoped to accomplish.  I failed.  After AAALLLLL of that work, I STILL FAILED.  If I had gone through all of this and accomplished my goals, it would’ve been more worth the sacrifice.  So, that’s the mental crap I’m now dealing with now – trying to get past all of the work I put in, what I put my mind and body through and then the aftermath that comes along with it – with no reward.

So, that’s the mental part, now let’s get physical.  After AAAAALLLL that, failure included, I’m now dealing with the physical aftermath of all the cardioing and dieting.  My body is a wreck.  I’m fat, I think.  I think my metabolism is jacked up.  I feel like a tub of goo.  I don’t want to be seen this way so I wear sweats to the gym to cover myself.  My husband and I went on a date this past weekend and it took me forever to find something to wear.  I tore up our bedroom trying to find something that didn’t make me look fat – we were late for our reservation.  I hate what I see when I look in the mirror.  I don’t want my husband to touch me because I’m so soft and pudgy.  Oddly, many people have approached me and said I look better now than when I was dieted down, but I don’t see that.  I’m miserable in my skin right now.  I’m angry because the rebound I experience doesn’t make sense – I didn’t binge or anything crazy like that after my shows.  Did I have cheat meals?  Absolutely (not gonna lie)!  But, all in all, I started my post-season by simply adding fruit into my diet, that’s it!  Does fruit warrant pounds upon pounds of weight gain?  My weight has steadily climbed each week since my last show and the bodily reaction I get from eating ‘normal’ foods is insane.  I’m pissed.  My body is soooooooooooooooooo deprived during prep that afterwards anything, and I mean ANYTHING, I put in my body sticks.  I’ve spoken with a lot of people about this and their post-prep rebound isn’t as drastic for them because they’re eating a decent amount throughout prep, so increasing their calories post-contest in order to reverse diet isn’t a huge deal.  With me, I starve for months leading up to a show so afterwards my body holds onto food for dear life.

I’m not sure where to go from here.  Some days I look forward to 2014.  Other days I want to walk away from the sport and pretend like I was never a bodybuilder.  All throughout prep I’d pray for an easier way.  I know prep is supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  But, in my heart, I truly believe it shouldn’t be THAT hard, it shouldn’t be THAT traumatic and life-altering.  Why is it so hard for me to shred for the stage?  Why me?  I should be able to manipulate my macros (NOT keto dieting!) and do some cardio (NOT 3 hours a day!) and lose weight.  Especially since I don’t think I start the diet being too far off my stage weight.  It’s only logical, right?  But, for some reason it seems to be impossible for me to diet down healthfully.  Over the course of my journey I have made contact with a few really helpful people who have given me hope.  It feels good that people still believe in me.  Now, I just need to believe in myself!

If I feel up to it, I’ll keep blogging about this journey, but I don’t know.  My husband thinks blogging about it can be therapeutic.  Sometimes talking about it helps but other times I want to forget about the sport and pretend like it never happened.  I need to establish a new life, a new outlook.  Where do I begin?



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VENT: I Got This!

Please don’t think I’m a bad person – I just get frustrated with some things and this blog is a great way for me to let it out.  Maybe I’m just having one of those days…


Leave me alone Let Me Be



If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s when people comment on my lifestyle – what I eat, what I don’t eat, why I work out.  DON’T DO IT.  If you do, you’re asking for trouble.  I eat well – lean meats, avoid processed foods, whole grains, veggies, etc. – but people need to remember that I’m human, I have cravings like everyone else and I have an in season and an off season diet.  In season vs. off season is extremely similar with the only difference being I have a little more wiggle room during my off season and can enjoy certain foods I would never think of eating while in season.  I am very far from perfect.  I can’t stand when people act as though they eat 6 perfectly ‘clean’ meals a day, 7 days a week with one teeny tiny cheat meal each week…then they judge others for NOT eating their version of healthy 100% of the time.  BULLSHIT.  Truth is, the folks who are judging aren’t perfect either but they are more interested in putting on a facade of perfection rather than owning up to reality.  I’m a human being with cravings and I openly allow myself to indulge sometimes.  I allow myself to enjoy family time during the holidays or I allow myself to partake in certain festivities on my or my husband’s birthday.  I’m not going to allow myself to feel bad about that.  My husband and I go to dinner a couple of times a month during my off season and we get whatever we want.  Most times we even get dessert [shocked face].  If there’s a big game or UFC fight on TV we’ll get snacks – chips and salsa or hummus, popcorn, for example.  I’ll also work fun foods into my macros – Stacy’s Pita Chips, bagels, rice krispie treats, etc.  You got something to say about that?

The thing is I don’t eat that kind of food every single frickin’ day.  But again, remember now, I’m human so I do indulge sometimes.  In a heavy mayo, super sized, extra cheese kinda world I ward off cravings every day of my life.  As a matter of fact there’s pizza in the office as I type this.  Yesterday a vendor delivered several boxes of donuts to the office…and we’re not talking Dunkin Donuts here, we’re talking gourmet donuts larger than your head.  Sometimes I don’t get cravings, sometimes I do.  Not indulging is a conscious choice I make daily, no one is forcing me to life this way.  That being said, what I don’t need is to be questioned about whatever decision I make.  Let’s say I’m out somewhere where there’s food and I see someone I know.  On this day maybe I’ve already eaten so I’m choosing not to eat again or maybe I’m in season and am sticking to my diet.  Is there a reason why you need to ask me 6+ times why I’m not eating?  I just told you why I’m not eating [*Tapping microphone* Hello? Is this thing on?]  It’s almost like they want to throw the fact that I’m not eating/unable to eat in my face.  Or why is it cool to purposely push your plate of food up to my face so I have to smell it?  YES, someone did that to me when I was 3 weeks out from a show!  Any competitor can back me up on this – the last 3 weeks leading up to a show are not a time to mess around like that.  You’re hungry, tired, hungry, on edge, did I say hungry?  You sick bastard – instigating my hunger!  “Jokes” like that just might get your throat cut.  Consider yourself warned.

3060467-an-image-of-a-very-shocked-female-cartoon-face-who-is-pointingOr, how about if I’m at another event and I actually do choose to snack on some of the goodies, do you need to stop in your tracks, launch yourself in front of me and act shocked like President Obama just entered the room?  I was at a company Christmas party last year, in my off season thank you very much, and I had some grilled chicken and a piece of bread on my plate.  No joke, a total of 8 people commented (yes I counted) on the fact that I was eating, gave me the shocked face, called me out loud enough for other people to hear and come over, or said,  “You can eat that??!!??” or “You can’t eat that!!!!!”, while shaking their finger at me.  Really?  It turned into a paparazzi kind of scene without the cameras.  So you’re telling me what I can and can’t eat when you so obviously have no regard for your own personal health?  Okay, yeah, sure, makes sense.  Let’s turn this around, do I give you a shocked gasp when you come in with a salad or a piece of fruit for once?  An occasional “Oh, wow, you’re eating” is okay but I don’t need much more than that.  Let me be.  If all you’re doing is trying to make conversation I’d rather just sit in silence.

Shut-Your-MouthI run into people I know at the local grocery store quite often and some comment on my cart, most don’t.  I’d prefer you didn’t comment.  REPEAT: If I see you in the grocery store please don’t comment on what’s in my cart.  Trust me, I got this.  I train hard every day doing cardio, lifting weights, or doing crossfit and boxing and I watch my diet closely, I think I can afford to have a treat in my cart during my off season   99% of what’s in my cart is what I would call healthy with 1% being something fun.  How you gonna roll up on me with your gut preceding you and comment on my cart?  It amazes me that the people who comment the most are the ones who have no idea what THEY’RE eating.  I’ve said this before, I can rattle off my macro intake without a second thought, can you?  I’m not one of the folks you need to be worried about.  Again, trust me, I got this!


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Air Fitness

Crossfit is beautiful in that it is a full body push that involves not just cardiovascular exercise but also uses just about every muscle fiber of your body.  It’s a disaster because although I may look like I’m in shape I’m skooled each time I push through a WOD.  I’m  panting as if there isn’t enough oxygen in the world to accommodate me.  When it’s all over I feel like I’ve been beaten to a pulp (in a good way :)).  

I’m really hoping Crossfit will be a fun way to trigger fat loss this season.  I had been wanting to try Crossfit for a while now but all of the gyms were so far from where I live.  I’d have to commute a hefty distance, pay to park, yada yada yada (that’s Chicago for you) – ugh.  Granted, if I really wanted to I could’ve driven to these far out places but doing that would’ve affected the lifting/training regimen I already had in place and, no offense to the die hard Crossfitt’ers out there but as a bodybuilder lifting is my first priority, not Crossfit.  Anyway, finally the Crossfit Gods answered my prayers and a gym opened up about 5 minutes from my house.  Crossfit was officially added to my list of obsessions after my first class!  It’s an amazing concept that I wish I would’ve taken advantage of earlier.  My Crossfit trainer describes Crossfit as a “high intensity functional strength and conditioning ‘program’ built on constantly varied and randomized movements involving weights, body weight, machines (i.e. rowing machines, treadmills, stationary bicycles, to name a few) and other props (pull up bars, medicine balls, body bars, kettlebells, boxes for box jumps/squats, sleds, tractor tires, ropes etc. again, just to name a few).”  I like it because it seems to be so broad and inclusive – I mean anything goes!  We’re talking cardio/respiratory endurance/stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and MENTAL TOUGHNESS – pfft!  You name it and it and there’s a WOD for it.

The mental part of it is huge.  I noticed that I talk myself through the workouts telling myself that I’m okay, that I have more to give, that I can go faster or harder.  The mind is a powerful thing – if I talk myself out of being tired and tell myself that I can do it I noticed I can keep going longer than I originally thought I could.  It’s weird – it’s like I can’t let Crossfit beat me.  The trainer will ask me if I want to lessen the weight and I always say no.  He’ll ask if I want to do ‘girl’ push-up or use a rubber band to help with the pull ups and again, my answer is no.

I had my first class a couple of weeks ago and I was sore for 3 days – lol.  Even though I was forced to hobble around and not lift my arms over my head for those 3 days while my muscles recovered I still continued with my lifting but then I also went back to Crossfit for more the following week.

Lets’ back track…
For the first session we did a Tabata-style workout where you push as hard as you can for 20 seconds then there’s a 10 second rest.  You go through this ’20 seconds on/10 seconds off’ structure for 8 rounds.  Let me tell you, those 10 seconds go by really fast – quickest 10 seconds of my life, and the 20 seconds seem to take forever – like watching the sand slowly fall from an hour glass.  They keep the classes small, no more than 8 participants, to ensure everyone is getting their fair share of attention.  You can’t hide.  Just when you start to rest there he is yelling at you to “get that weight up!”

Here are the workouts I’ve done:

Warm Up (3x)

6 Burpees
15 Push Ups
60 Jumping Jacks

(Tabata – Each exercise is done for 8 rounds, 20 seconds on/10 seconds off before moving on to the next exercise)

Chest Press (On back with 35 lbs plate)
Squat Push Press w/ Medicine Ball
Frog Jumps
Medicine Ball Sumo Squat
Butterfly Sit Ups
Bicycle Sit Ups


Warm Up (3x)
10 Jumping Lunges (20 total)
6 Atomic Push Ups
20 Seconds High Knees in Place

(20 Minute Circuit – The goal is to see how many times you can get through this circuit in 20 minutes.  I made it through 19 times.  #rockstar)

5 Pull Ups
10 Barbell Squat Push Press (Squat must be below parallel or it is not counted and yes, a trainer is standing there counting each rep)
15 Chest Press – Elbows In (On back with 35 lbs plate)


Warm Up (3x)
5 Swinging Pull Ups
10 Burpees
12 Frog Jumps

WOD #1
The overall goal is to do 125 barbell squat push presses.  But, every 60 seconds you have to stop and do 5 burpees.  If it takes you 20 seconds to do 5 burpees, you now have 40 seconds to bang out as many squat push presses as you can.  You go back and forth from burpees to squat push presses until you reach 125 total push presses.  Before we started, I looked around and everyone else had 5 or 10 lbs dumbbells but dude had given me a 45 lbs bar – shyyyt!  I was so fatigued I can’t even tell you how long it took me, maybe 25-30 minutes…?  I was the last one done – ha – but one of the trainers hung out with my sorry-self until I was done.

WOD #2 (5 rounds, 10 second rest between stations)
I barely made it through the first WOD but I still had 20 minutes left in my session and the trainer asked if I wanted to go through another circuit.  Before I realized it I was shaking my head, yes.  Oy ve!  Here we go…
15 Kettlebell Swings
15 Box Jumps
15 Wall Ball Squat Pushes

Tabata Abs: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off (8 rounds)
Sit ups with medicine ball throw


Warm Up
(10) 20 Second Sprints on Treadmill

WOD #1
60 Military Squats
40 Double Unders (Jump Rope)
20 Medicine Ball Slams

WOD #2
8 Jumping Lunges
30 Sec Rope Thrash
30 Sec High Knees

Last year I spent countless hours on the stairmaster.  Boooooorrring!  I love me some stairmaster but not 2-3 hours worth a day.  I need to burn fat to get on stage this year but I need a cardio change this time around.  Plus the stairmaster is ‘easy’ – stairmaster junkies don’t get offended by me using the word ‘easy’.  I too am a self-proclaimed Stairmaster Junkie.  When I say easy I don’t really mean that exactly.  It’s hard for me, yes, especially when I get up to level 20 and am basically running up the stairs.  But it’s a steady state or interval workout that gets the legs tired and puts me out of breath but it’s not like sled pushes and tire flips or any other exercise where you’re rapidly pushing/pulling weight using every inch of your body.  On the stairmaster I can zone out and detach myself from the apparatus.  I can’t detach  myself from Crossfit because they’re is so much movement involved.  One minute we’re up, then the next we’re down, then we’re up again, then we move left, then right, then back to the left – constant level and direction changes.  Add a little bit of weight to that and you’re crossfitting.  The Crossfit movements don’t seem difficult when you look at them on paper but don’t be fooled.  When you push as hard as you can stringing high intensity movements together it turns into the most awesome beautiful disaster of muscle fatigue and hopefully, fat loss.  Yes, body weight squats aren’t that bad but try 50 body weight squats followed 10 burpees followed by 6 box jumps followed by [nope we’re not done] 5 pull ups.  Then go through that sequence 5 times and let me know how you feel 😉

If anyone reading this has done/is doing Crossfit please shoot me an email and let me know about the workouts you’ve done.

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Cheers to the Freakin’ Weekend

Operation “Keeping a Positive Attitude No Matter What Happens Throughout My Contest Diet” is underway.  CHEERS to that!  I made things happen this past weekend and it set my RELENTLESSLY competitive (yet calm) wheels in motion – I set a pretty sweet PR if I don’t say so myself [patting  myself on the back] and met up with some very important women in my life.

Before and during my previous competition season my deadlift got up to 315 lbs.  However, with all of the dieting, training and the health problems I was having that 315 lbs deadlift quickly diminished to 275 lbs…then down to 225 lbs…and eventually I quit doing deadlifts all together.  At that time, deadlifts were too taxing and I would be sore for days afterwards.  Now, I’m back from surgery, my health is okay and my deadlift is steadily climbing up, up and away.  This past weekend was my version of Sunday Funday – it was  BACK day.  I deadlifted 350 lbs!  Yep, I picked it up and put it down…then I did it again…and again for 3 good reps.  Some folks may scoff at that number because they are able to do more but, I don’t care about that.  I’m 160 lbs and this 350 lbs deadlift is MY victory.  Think back to the excitement you felt when you hit your max because that’s the excitement I feel now.  405 lbs, here I come.

My training this season is so different than previous seasons.  Before I would overtrain, doing set after set after set eventually crawling out of the gym only to go back later and train again.  Now, I train once a day and focus on 1-2 body parts per workout.  I’m not doing nearly as many sets as I was doing before.  My two-a-days have now decreased to one-a-days and I feel strong.  Previously on any given day 2-3 muscle groups on my body would be sore so when I’d go to the gym I’d just train one of the body parts that wasn’t sore…but then that body part was sore the next day while the first 2-3 muscle groups were still sore…and so on.  Now, I get sore but the soreness isn’t as intense and as lasting as before.  Corynne – 1.  Overtraining – 0.

Here is my Sunday Funday Backday (with a side of biceps) workout:
Wide Grip Weighted Pullups – 4 x 5-7
Deadlifts – As many warm up sets as I need and 4 working sets
T-Bar Row – 4 x 5-7
Reverse Grip Lat Pull down – 3 x 5-7
Scapular Pull Ups – 2 x 6-10
Seated Low Row – 3 x 5-7
Hammer Strength Seated Row – 3 x 5-7
Preacher Curl – 5 x 5-7



Corynne Cooper Pero, Melissa Fischer and Kellie Paige

I surely won’t be able to get through this season without the help of my bad-ass, weight slangin’ girlfriends.  We talk often – we cheer for each other, we vent, we laugh, we whine, we cry, we complain, we’re happy for each other’s accomplishments and we understand each other’s woes.  All of us have jobs/lives/families that has an affect on our competitive careers.  We send emails and texts back and forth throughout the day pumping each other up or venting about the people in our offices who seem to get off on trying to derail our diet.  On many occasions we’ve called each other in tears because of [insert anything related to the scale] and had to talk each other off of the diet and training  ledge.  Not too long ago I sent an email to my girl Kellie (in the photo above) telling her that I was officially quitting the sport.  She called me not even 10 minutes later and here I am dieting/training for the 2013 season – oy ve.  We train hard, diet hard, and we eat metal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We are the RELENTLESS BRIGADE!  There are three of us in the picture but there’s actually a fourth member of this group – Eve Lewis.  She wasn’t able to make it this time but no worries, she’s just as relentless as the rest of us.

After our leg workout we had the bright idea to have Mike Neumann take us through a HIIT class in his dungeon.

After our leg workout we had the bright idea to have Mike Neumann take us through a HIIT class in his dungeon.

On February 9th, we had our first meet up of 2013 at Impact Fitness in Bradley, Illinois.  We hit it hard with a leg workout followed by Mike Neumann’s HIIT class.  Afterwards, we infiltrated Melissa’s house for some clean, macro-counting eatin’.  Love my girls.  Look out for us in 2013!




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Attitude Adjustment


Over the last year, but definitely the last few months I’ve been giving myself a series of attitude adjustments.  Ever heard the phrase, ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself’?  Um, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ve been checking myself, my thoughts, my goals, my everything and making sure I’m in the right place.  It’s almost like a come to Jesus moment.  It’s a moment I definitely needed – shoot – I was running myself in to the ground.  

I had a difficult season in 2011.  I don’t want to get into it but if you’ve read my previous posts, you know what’s up.  I spent the better part of 2011 miserable, treating my contest prep like a miserable death sentence.  All fun ceased to exist and I was basically a shell of myself.  No laughter, no positivity…my only goal was to get on stage whether I sauntered or crawled.  You know how during the last stretch of the Ironman the athletes are collapsing and literally crawling on their hands and knees to the finish line.  By no means am I comparing bodybuilding to an Ironman since I’ve never done one before (and never will!!!) but you get the idea.  I didn’t have anything left in the tank and crawled to the stage.  Anyway, I said wasn’t going to get into that, but I did anyway.  The bottom line is I basically spent 2012 recovering, praying, seething with anger and, finally attitude adjusting.  Or so I thought…

In my mind I was recovering but looking back I was still doing some of the things that hurt me in the first place.  For example, I overtrained and dieted my way into bad health during my last competition season, yet I was still meticulously counting calories and in some cases under eating and going to the gym 2x per day every day.  I was taking myself through 10-12 workouts each week.  Stupid, I know, but I had this crazy idea I could diet and train my way out of my issue of overdieting and overtraining [don’t laugh].  Just from typing this is I see how crazy it sounds.  I was tired all of the time, I wasn’t losing weight, I was a mess.  One morning I was driving to my parents house after a workout and I could’ve sworn I dozed off for a nanosecond.  That could’ve been it for me.

Here I am!  Chillaxing before the surgery.

Here I am! Chillaxing in my super cool robe and slip-free sox before the surgery.

One thing I didn’t mention to the masses was that I had surgery in October 2012.  This is something my doctor noticed back in 2010 but I had just won my pro card when I got the news and was all about competing in 2011.  However, in early 2011 I started having a pain in my stomach/lower abdomen, but by this time I was so deep into my contest prep I left it alone.  The pains I was having got worse but at the time, stupidly my priority was bodybuilding, not figuring out where the pain was coming from.  Even after the season was over in late 2011 I continued to push myself through workouts attempting to get ready for 2012, as if I was healthy secretly knowing something was wrong.  Finally, in June/July 2012 I went to the doctor again and after several tests learned I had a fibroid tumor in my uterus.   I had two options – (a) continue with the pain I was having and get on medication that *might* shrink the fibroid or (b) have surgery.  I chose surgery.  I had the surgery on October 1, 2012 where a fibroid the size of a softball was removed from my uterus.  I was in the hospital for 2.5 days, on bed rest for another 2 weeks, back up on the stairmaster at the end of October and started lifting again the second week of November.  The surgery sucked!  First of all, hospitals need cable.  Secondly, I was hungry as all hell.  On the first day after the surgery, you are only allowed to eat/drink clear liquids so my dinner consisted of chicken broth.  Jason looked at the food tray and said to the nurse, “She’s a bodybuilder.  Can you get her some protein?”  Also, you never realize how much you use something, a muscle group, for example, until it’s hindered in some way.  The incision was made in my lower abs and things I typically do with ease became a painful and uncomfortable chore – rolling over, sitting up, standing up straight, walking up the stairs, taking a deep breath, laughing, coughing, sneezing – OUCH!!   I give major props to moms who have a C-section and then have to care for a baby while they recover!  All I wanted to do was lay there and not be bothered.  I watched about as much Maury as I could handle – 5th man tested…”You are NOT the father”…crowd goes wild…dude jumps up and does a praise dance…girl jumps up and sprints to the back – never got old…[sigh] Maury Povich chancing the world one paternity test at a time.  I chose not to use pain killers once I left the hospital – not sure why, I just didn’t.  The bright spot in all of this was my husband.  He was the last person I saw before I went under and the first person I saw when I woke up.  He stayed in the hospital room with me until late into the night knowing he had to put in a full day at the office the following day – and for those of you who do not know this my husband LOOOOOOVESS him some sleep, but he sacrificed his zzzzzz’s for me.  He even slept on an air mattress at a friend’s house so he could be closer to the hospital.  Love him dearly.

This was my first surgery.  I mean, I had my wisdom teeth pulled back in 2001 but this was my first major surgical procedure.  [KNOCK ON WOOD] I have always been a relatively injury free athlete.  While many of my teammates were tearing ligaments, breaking bones, and having surgery I dealt with basic aches and pains but nothing all too major.  The time away from the gym was difficult but therapeutic.  I thought about how hard I pushed last year and how much I stressed over the smallest things and I realized it really didn’t have to go down that way.  I did not need to sacrifice my life, my well being and my relationships for this sport.  Not to say that being successful doesn’t require sacrifices but I took it a little too far – past hard core into the stupidity range.  I gave up too much.  Now, I’m back in full swing hoping to step on stage in 2013 as a smarter me.  I’m sticking to a lifting and cardio plan and [wait for it] am only training once a day 5-6 days a week.  For someone who had been doing two-a-days for several years, this is a big step for me.  

Anywho, I’ve moved on and am prepping for…well…not sure yet.  I’m not sure what my competition plans are for 2013 but I do know I will walk on to the stage, not crawl, and I will walk off of the stage ready to hug my husband, not collapse into this arms gasping for breath.

It feels great to be back!  Don’t forget to LIKE this post and please LIKE my fan page to follow my 2013 journey to the stage.  :)

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Joe: A Big Ole Piece of Humble Pie

I learned a lesson a couple of weeks ago.  HUMILITY.  It wasn’t a lesson that I learned because of something I did but because of something others did.  I witnessed a situation that caused me to take a step back and check myself.  I saw everything unfold before my eyes and when it was all said and done a well deserved lesson had been learned.  Here’s the story:

Monday was a typical day – I got up around 4:15am for my first workout of the day.  I get to the gym and start my workout – business as usual.  Around 5:45ish, in walks a man, Joseph (aka Joe), who I hadn’t seen in about two years (well, I think it had been 2 years – it had been such a loooooooong time and I really couldn’t remember the last time I saw him.  Two years sounds about right).  When I knew him in years past he was an avid fitness buff – lean, striated, vascular, would wear tight clothing to show off his physique, and was always very vocal by saying hello to almost everyone and grunting with every single rep.  When we first met I had not yet competed but he knew I was training for a show.  He asked for my autograph because he said I would “take the bodybuilding world by storm” once I hit the stage.  I remember him vividly.  He used to compete as a bodybuilder so we had a connection and would often spend a minute or two shooting bodybuilding ideas back and forth.  He was the only one who completely understood the art of the work-in and the novel idea of not bothering someone with idle chat when they’re in their ‘zone’.  This Monday morning, however, was different.  He walked in slowly and quietly.  He used to make a beeline towards the free weights as if he couldn’t get his hands on the dumbbells quick enough, all while saying hello to no less than 5 people along the way.  Not today – he wondered quietly and aimlessly over to the bench press rack.  He was wearing baggy sweatpants and an over sized shirt, not the shorts and tight tank top he used to wear.  He was noticeably heavier – big stomach that poked out under his shirt, rounded face, double chin.  I later saw him struggling to bench press 135lbs.  That’s far from the 315lbs+ I saw him lift for reps a couple of years ago.  

I could hear folks gossiping about him as he maneuvered through the gym.  Remember, this guy used to be loud.  If he was in the gym, you knew it.  He spoke to everyone, everyone spoke to him and he seemed to know everyone by name.  He was popular and being back after two years was shocking to those who knew him before.  He didn’t speak to anyone and only a few people acknowledged him with a quick ‘hey’.  Of course under their breath they had a lot to say. “Is that the bodybuilder guy who used to workout here?”…”Where has he been?” …”Wow, he let himself go!”…”Too many donuts!”…”I don’t see how someone can let themselves go like that!”  SIDE NOTE: Keep in mind, in the morning my gym is filled with a group of men who do more chit-chatting than lifting.  They’ll do a bicep curl here and there but their time at the gym is mostly social.  I mean, pfft, they may as well skip the gym, save on gas and just have a conference call with each other every morning instead.  So of course I cringe when I overhear them, of all people, talking about my boy Joe.  Anyway…

I just so happened to be leaving the gym at the same time as my long lost friend and we made eye contact.  He said, “Hey, I remember you!  You look great!”  After some idle chat I asked why I hadn’t seen him in the last couple of years.  I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that he wasn’t at home being lazy, munching on Cheetos or anything like that.  Just two years earlier he had an amazing physique that could have only be achieved by living a lifestyle that was dedicated to health and wellness.  No way he’d let that go on his own doing.  I was right.  He lifted up his pant leg and revealed a prosthetic leg.  I gasped.  He told me about a year and a half ago, he, his wife and baby girl got in the car to go to dinner, something all of us have done a million times.  A few miles from their home a car ran a red light and plowed into them in the intersection.  Unfortunately, his wife and daughter were killed.  His life was spared but he lost his right leg in the process. 

We talked for a couple more minutes and I said I looked forward to seeing him again soon.  Typically I rush to my car and speed off so I can get home and get ready for work, but on this day I sat in my car for a minute…a few minutes actually.  Motionless.  Speechless.  Humbled.  What happened to Joe and his family could’ve happened to anyone…it could’ve happened to me!  As I sat there, I saw him hobble out of the doorway to his car that was parked in one of the handicapped spots.  I almost cried.  I thought back to every time I may have judged someone because they weren’t lifting as heavy as I was…or as heavy as I thought they should be lifting…or when I’d judge someone’s reasons for missing their workouts.  I’m calling myself out.

I’m not writing this blog post to be ‘preachy’ but this situation reiterated an important lesson in HUMILITY and JUDGEMENT.  My mother always told me to never consider myself superior or inferior to others and to treat everyone the same whether they are an emperor, beggar or something in between.  The truth is you never know what others have gone through/are currently going through.  This situation caused me to think back to the number of times I may have strolled into the gym and made light of the fact that the person next to me isn’t lifting as much as I am.  I heard a few gasps from onlookers when my guy Joe struggled with 135lbs.  But if they only knew of his past devastation and that it’s a  miracle he’s even able to walk at this point, I could only hope they would second guess their decision to judge.

Looking at Joe one might assume he gained weight by being lazy and gluttonous but low and behold, his weight gain came on because he was in a hospital, sedentary for almost a year.  How many times have you looked at the person next to you at the gym and thought you were better because you were lifting more than they were?  I see Facebook posts like this all of the time.  People talk about how much they lift (which isn’t necessarily a problem,we work hard and should be proud of our accomplishments) but they compare themselves to the person next to them – as if they’re better than their neighbor because they’re lifting heavier, because they’re leaner, because the other person is struggling with a weight you warm up with, etc.  How does the amount of weight you lift automatically make you better than someone else?  Yes, I can bench more than Joe but I also didn’t have a limb removed.  Sure, there are folks out there who blatantly slack on their training and diet and yes, that annoys me but this situation has made me more tolerant.  I’ll never forget the day last year when I was walking on the treadmill slowly…very slowly…1 week out from a show.  Tired.  Hungry.  Depleted.  The guy next to me was cooling down from a lengthy run.  He looked at me, smiled, and said something like, “Slacking, huh?”  He didn’t mean anything by it but I got a little annoyed.  I was doing anything but taking it easy.  He had no clue what I had done over the last 5 months to prepare for this show.  Here I am, 1 week out crawling to the stage because I did anything but slack for 5 months straight.  Little did he know I had already lifted and done an hour of cardio earlier in the day and I was back at the gym that evening for one more round of light cardio and stretching.

It bothered me that Joe was laughed at for ‘letting himself go’ and for being heavy.  Little did they know he is dealing with a life changing incident and every day is a struggle.  All of us competitors are blessed to be able to not only see the light of day every single morning but we are also able to take things a step further and not just live but also create amazing physiques out of the framework we are given.  We have two arms, two legs, two hands – we’re blessed.  We’re blessed to be able to not only live our lives but we are able to train and compete and push our bodies past the normalcy of everyday living.  My mother also told me not to judge because God could put you in the other person’s shoes in the blink of an eye.  The life and energy we put towards are sport shouldn’t be taken for granted or used to look down on others and our accomplishments also does not warrant us to judge others at a glance without knowing their full story.

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From the looks of it my last blog was in March.  Wow, 5 months later her I am.  I appreciate all of the emails and Facebook posts from people asking me when I was going to write again and asking me if I’m okay. With blogging, it all goes in to cyberspace and you never know who, if anyone, is actually reading. I have dealt with a lot over the last few months, positive and negative, but the in an effort to not be all ‘sour grapesy’ I will say my life truly has been mostly positive over the last 5 months.  It seems like each month brought NEW ups, NEW downs, NEW ideas, NEW direction, NEW people and NEW goals.  NEW – exactly how life should be!

“If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand.  You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
– Brian Koslow

I spent the time between my last show in October 2011 and February/March sulking yet preparing to compete again.  It was weird – how do you sulk and prepare for a show at the same time?  I was miserable dealing with post-show weight fluctuations but I was all amped up to compete again in 2012.  I’d be miserable in my skin during the day but my attitude would change for the better the moment I set foot in the gym.  Once I left the gym I was back to sulking for the rest of the night.  Then I’d wake up at 4am as happy as I could be to hit the gym again…sad all day at work…back to being happy when I’d get to the gym for my 6pm workout.  I felt like the gym was where I could change things…as if I could walk in an ‘off-season fatty’ and leave lean and stage ready. That’s what made me excited to go – the age old mantra of putting forth the effort to invoke change.  The instant change I was hoping for didn’t happen.  As a matter of fact things got worse before they got better.

I had a long diet season in 2011 and was struggling to drop weight for the 2012 season.  I could only assume that my metabolism needed more time to recover.  I was doing everything correctly – diet, training, etc. – but my body wasn’t responding.  In fact, I could be starving all day only to get on the scale the next morning and have GAINED a pound of two.  Or, I’d have a cheat meal – nothing major, maybe sushi or a couple of pieces of pizza – and I’d gain 5/6/7lbs overnight and then the weight would hang out for a couple of days.  W…T…F!!!  Yes, it was a cheat meal and I was prepared for my weight to go up but I didn’t eat an additional 17,000 – 25,000 calories to warrant that much weight gain.  It was as if the food I ate didn’t match the amount of weight I gained from it.  My coach and husband kept suggesting that I take a year off but that wasn’t registering to me.  Take a year off?  Do you know who you’re talking to?!?!?!  But all in all, that’s what I needed to do.  I knew that’s what was best but when you’re as competitive as I am the idea of purposely not competing is a travesty.  If I don’t compete it needs to be because my femur is jutting out of my thigh, not because I can’t diet.  But then I took a tiny step back and thought, “If I’m already having to push super hard to drop weight now – meaning cardio and diet – then I’m in for a crazy contest prep just as hard or worse than before.  Plus, contest prep is time consuming and exhausting with the training, food prep, mood swings and the constant need to sleep. I had to admit it felt kind of good to have a little bit of that stress off of me. It was a double edged sword though – I was happy to be somewhat stress free but I actually missed the stress of having a show coming up. Who was I if I didn’t have a show on the immediate horizon? Also, when I took another step back I realized that it wasn’t only physical, it was mental as well.  I wasn’t mentally ready to diet yet either.  I was almost mentally scorned from being so strict and so deprived for 7 months.  I’d shudder every time I’d log in to MyFitnessPal because it would remind me of contest prep!  I still had an odd relationship with food too.  I wasn’t comfortable with eating ‘normal’ food yet but then on the opposite side of the coin the idea of having food taken away in order to diet made me cringe.  It was like I didn’t want to eat but I wanted the OPTION to eat if I wanted to.  I didn’t have any options during my forever-long contest prep.  I went on a chicken, tuna, green bean and butternut squash boycott – the thought of it grossed me out because I had eaten so much of it through the diet.  All of this intense thinking gave me a NEW PERSPECTIVE.  I needed some time to relax my brain and calm myself down, get my health back in order, remember why I love this sport and smile or laugh every once in a while.  I had to learn that bodybuilding isn’t only about the stage.  There’s a journey involved that deals with preparing for the event but you also have to be prepared for the aftermath that comes along with stepping off of that stage and going back to your normal life.  In taking time off I was forced to learn that THERE IS LIFE AFTER BODYBUILDING. It was hard for me to integrate myself back into ‘normal’ life and as a matter of fact I STILL struggle with it.  I’ve struggled with it since I started competing in 2010. What the heck does ‘normal’ mean anyway?  Who gets to decide what’s normal? My guess is that everyone defines their own normalcy. For some normalcy means going to work and coming home, eating what you want, going to happy hour, going out to lunch, etc. That’s fine. For others, it’s eating clean sometimes and hitting the gym a few times a week. That’s still fine. My ‘normal’ equates to two-a-day workouts, eating clean, and being a student of the sport. I am normal – MY normal, MY perspective.

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

By this time I had officially decided to take the year off.  No joke, I can’t believe I’m even saying that out loud.  To this day I have never really admitted that I will not be stepping on stage in 2012.  However, I’ve been training and eating as if I’m getting ready to step on stage at any time.  When asked I’d always “Soon. Not sure when but soon”.  Not sure why but the feeling of failure always creeps into my mind when I think about not competing, so how dare I admit it out loud.  Basically this little paragraph here will be the only time you hear me say that I’m taking a year off.  In the midst of all of the training and dieting I did in 2011, and after many heart-to-hearts with my biggest fan, my husband, I also realized that although I accomplished a lot over the last 2 years in the bodybuilding world there was one big thing I had not accomplished.  The one thing I didn’t do well was BE A WIFE.  Everything that comes along with contest prep has the ability, if you let it (which I did), to pull you away from those around you or it can completely remove you from society in general.  Some stress over it and some don’t – I think it depends on your personality. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a stressor.  It’s quite possible that you’ll have limited time with friends, family and your mate.  It’s not like that with everyone – some fit bodybuilding into their lives when and where they can, others throw their lives into bodybuilding.  Well, I was the latter – I threw everything into competing.  My life was gym – work – gym, 5 days a week then on weekends it was gym – sleep – gym – sleep.  My husband didn’t fit in anywhere.  Looking back on it I feel really bad about how I treated him and our marriage but when it was happening I didn’t think anything of it.

Now that I had some additional time on my hands and additional macros to spare (!) the hubs and I reintroduced ourselves to each other and started having a date night once per week – typically on Friday or Saturday night.  For example, the picture to the left is when we saw UFC when it was in Chicago.  Sometimes we’d go out, other times we’d stay in – we just wanted to be together and we’d focus on each other.  Those times were refreshing because it was an hour or two where I didn’t feel like a ‘washed-up…has been…quitter’ who can’t compete this year.  For that time period that I was with my husband each weekend I didn’t think about the stage, macros or the next body part I would be hitting at the gym the next morning.  I just relaxed and felt…I don’t know…beautiful.  Now, I’m not saying that women need a man in order to feel good about themselves but, let me tell you, there’s something awesome about having a husband that thinks you’re PHAT regardless if you’re stage ready or the opposite.  My husband has seen me at all stages from my pre-bodybuilding days when I tipped the scale at 185 un-lean pounds to being show ready all of the way to seeing me fat and bloated after a post show binge!  He’s been there with and for me the whole time through thick and thin…literally!

“Victory is won not in miles but in inches.” – Louis L’Amour
Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” – Unknown
This month is a blur.  I don’t remember much of it.  I do know that my body stabilized in such a way that the scale did not move.  When I say it didn’t move I mean it DID NOT MOVE.  I was about the same weight for 31 days – high carbs, moderate carbs, low carbs, cheat meal, hungry…it didn’t matter.  My frickin’ body stayed at 178-180.  Some days I’d be annoyed with it while other days I thought it was cool that I could ignore calorie counting and my weight would stay the same.  Although my weight didn’t move I noticed that my body was tightening.  I started to feel leaner and lighter.  I started seeing striations in my abs, arms, chest and back again.  I was getting stronger in the gym and my clothes were fitting looser and looser as the month went on.  I was losing inches which was awesome.  Near the end of the month, I finally started losing a 1/2lb here or a lb there.  It’s slow but it’s still a loss and I’m happy with that.  Instead of worrying about the stage I started being happy for my smaller victories – a PR, ‘perfect’ eating, a super cool new vein or striation.  I HAD TO REMEMBER THERE IS A VALUE TO SMALL WINS AND IT’S THE SMALL WINS THAT ADD UP TO THE GREATER GOAL.

“The seeds of doubt are always there; it’s whether we water them or not that makes the difference.” – Unknown
 Todays preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.” – Unknown
“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.” – Dwight Eisenhower
I’m finally starting to feel normal and the doubts that were running through my head daily are now fewer and far between.  FINALLY!  Don’t get me wrong I still have doubts but they don’t creep up as often as before. I can have a cheat meal here and there and only gain a 1/2 pound or so, not 5+lbs like before. Do I look like I can step on stage right this second? Hell naw, but that’s what the off-season is for. To get HUGE, to gain muscle, to add some ‘good, clean’ quality weight. I feel like a bodybuilder again and the stage doesn’t seem that far away. I can see striations in my upper body and I’ve had a string of fantastic workouts over the last few months. I look back on my ‘drama’ and the one thing I’m most proud of is that through it all I never admitted to not competing and I never quit training. I haven’t quit yet and I most likely won’t. I TRAINED EACH DAY AS IF THERE WAS NO TOMORROW. To toot my own horn [yep, I’m tootin’], I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that I maximized my off-season to its absolute fullest. I WORKED…I WORKED HARD! I worked with a sense of urgency…as if I had a show sprinting around the corner. When I step on stage in 2013 I will have no doubt that I did everything I could have done during my off-season. No regrets.  No woulda-coulda-shoulda.  When I could’ve slacked, I didn’t.  When I could’ve skipped a workout, I didn’t. When I could’ve skipped a meal or overate, I didn’t unless it was a planned cheat meal. I trained, ate and thought as if I had a show coming up around the corner. It is my hope that my hard work through all of this will pay off in the end. Am I nervous? Yes! I’m nervous that although I’ve kept up with my training and diet during my off-season, my body won’t cooperate from a metabolic standpoint once it’s time to lose. I can train and diet but if my body does not respond to a weight loss stimulus – i.e. lowered calories, cardio – I’m SOL. In the meantime, in the words of my illustrious bodybuilding-bestie, #2 fan (of course my husband is my #1) and fellow competitor, Kellie Paige, I say ONWARD!

Don’t forget to ‘like’ this post :)

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MISSION POSSIBLE: PART 2 – Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yo’self

MISSION POSSIBLE PART 2: Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yo’self

The hubs and I went on our weekly shopping trip this past weekend.  Costco first, then Trader Joe’s, Jewel and then Dominick’s.  Why so many stores?  Because my last name isn’t Winfrey, Gates or Buffett – I go where the sales are.  When you talk about food and supplements, bodybuilding can get expensive so I try to keep the costs down in anyway possible.  My husband and I (mostly my husband, bless his heart) look through the newspaper noting what’s on sale and clipping coupons and then we make a shopping list for each store.  If there’s one thing I hate it’s wanting a certain food and not having it so whenever I run out of something I write it down immediately.  I’m super anal about my shopping list – don’t touch it and don’t be scratching things out all willy nilly unless you have a death wish.

Here’s a picture of our cart from Costco:

144 eggs, bell peppers, shrimp, frozen mixed veggies, frozen green beans, gum, rotisserie chicken, 10lbs bag of chicken, quinoa, plums, kiwi and nectarines.

Not bad for an off-season diet, huh?  But, as I was walking through the aisle I grabbed a bag of kettle baked chips and threw them in the cart without even really thinking about it.  I’m in the off-season, I can have chips, right?  Well, that’s what I kept saying to myself.  If you look at the picture at the very top of this post you’ll notice that Kettle chips certainly are not on my shopping list.  But here’s the deal…every once in a while I like to treat myself to the crunchy, salty, trans-fatty goodness that is what us Americans call potato chips.  I had the bag in the cart for the rest of our trip around the warehouse.  This is Costco we’re talking about so it wasn’t a regular sized bag either – we’re talking king sized, a bag large enough to feed a family of 12.  But, here’s what I always do right before I get in line to check out – I check myself before I wreck myself.  In other words, I check my food choices before I end up taking something home that wrecks my diet.  I look at my cart and ask myself if I really NEED this or that.  Chicken – yes, chicken is a pretty big deal.  Eggs – yes, I’ve eaten eggs every morning for the last 2 years.  Veggies – peppers, green beans, mixed veggies – a definite must.  Rotisserie chicken – eh – not an absolute must-have but it’s a nice change from regular chicken.  Fruit – in the off season I have a serving of fruit at some point throughout my day so yes, this is necessary.  Potato chips…hmmmm.  Do I actually NEED potato chips?  What role do chips play in a bodybuilder’s diet?  How would eating chips help me achieve my goals as a bodybuilder?  Even bigger than that, how would eating this sodium, trans fat ridden, processed food help with my overall health?  I do this all of the time and it annoys the hell out of my husband.  Never fails – on any given shopping trip we’ve been in the store for close to an hour, he’s more than ready to go, we’re on our way to checkout and he’s just about to be freed from the shackles of grocery shopping hell and then – SIKE! – I pull the cart off to the side and spend a good 5-10 minutes picking through everything.  And we aren’t even going to talk about if I want to change something out or put something back and I have to run back into the aisles – that can add another 10+ minutes.  Anyways, I took the chips out of the cart and they went back to their rightful place on the shelf for someone else to enjoy.

For anyone who is interested, here is your next challenge.  I want you to…

First of all, don’t go to the grocery store hungry – that’s asking for trouble.  Next, make a shopping list and make a vow to stick to it. Once you’re done shopping pull your cart aside and ask yourself if there is anything you don’t need.  Eliminate anything that won’t help you achieve your overall fitness goals.

BOTTOM LINE – Check your cart and don’t buy anything that doesn’t have a positive impact on your fitness goals.  If a tall bag of M&Ms is calling your name but you know you can’t limit yourself to a handful every once in a while then it would be in your best interest to leave it on the shelf for someone else.  And if you do choose to deviate from your diet be prepared to deal with the consequences.

Again, this post isn’t written for my fellow competitors and fitness buffs since you guys already know what’s up.  This post is for those who reach out to me wanting to make a change but don’t know where to start.  This is also for the folks who run around the store grabbing whatever makes their mouth water at the time and end up with a cart full of processed, fatty grossness.  I always live by the rule of, if I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it.

Don’t forget to like this post. :)


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MISSION POSSIBLE: PART 1 – Take the Plunge



My days are extremely regimented.  I know where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there and how long I’m supposed to be there.  If anything or anyone gets in my way others will feel my wrath – just ask my husband 😉  It’s kind of crazy but that’s how my mind works.  If I’m not doing something or if I have spare time, I wonder what I should be doing. I’m up at 4:20a in the morning and I move like a robot.  BEEEEEEP – alarm goes off…bathroom…get dressed…check email…make protein shake…out the door.  I prepare my meals the night before or the weekend before and I lay my gym clothes out the night or weekend before.

When I look at the time spent preparing for my day/week, yes, it is a commitment but it’s a commitment that sets me up for success each and every day of my life.  When it comes to meal prep, sure I could be doing something else – watching TV, sleeping, spending time with my husband, etc. – but would I rather skip my food prep and enter my week/day unprepared?  No, not being prepared sacrifices my health and I’m not about that.  If I have my food with me the idea of eating fast food doesn’t even cross my mind…I’m not tempted to grab a doughnut or muffin from the break room at work.  Bottom line – committing to food prep makes it much easier to eat clean.  And honestly, once I get started with the cooking and packing and what not I’m done before I know it.  I’m not sure if I’m just used to the process or if it’s a lifestyle but I actually look forward to it.  It gets easier.

One of the main things I hear from people is that they don’t have time to prepare their meals and that is why they are forced to eat out every day.  I’m sorry…forced?  Really?  Not having food with you during the day is a situation that could have been prevented – be honest with yourself.  Okay, so you have to buy your lunch…are you forced to order a burger and fries instead of the grilled chicken or fish?  So you were forced to order that greasy pizza puff instead of a salad?  Just like you have to pick your kids up from school, just like you have to pay your mortgage, just like you have to get to work on time, you have to learn to live a healthier lifestyle which includes eating clean and moving away from fast food and restaurant food.  Don’t let it get to a point where a doctor has to tell you this.  Put your health high on your priority list now – right up there with paying your bills and taking care of your kids.  I understand that everyone doesn’t want to be a bodybuilder.  The majority of the population wants to enjoy food and perhaps doesn’t want the added pressure of having to go to the gym every single day.  The average person doesn’t want to count calories or worry about insulin spikes or spill over from too many carbs.  Honestly, folks don’t want to be restricted – that’s fine.  I’m choosing to live this way.  Everyone has their own goals so who am I to judge?  But, I do feel bad/concerned for the people who say they want to make a change or are told by a medical professional that they need to make a change, or are experiencing issues such as sore knees, back pains, or shortness of breath which is their body’s way of telling them they need to make a change but, they continue on as if their condition will magically go away.  I also feel bad for the folks who happen to be skinny/thin-looking and feel that their metabolism and body as a whole will stay that way forever no matter how horribly they treat themselves.  I feel bad because these people have no clue what they’re in for.

For anyone who is interested, here is your challenge starting [wait for it] NOW.  I challenge you to make a change and yes, this mission is possible.  I want you to:

For the week of March 25, 2011, prepare your lunch for one week instead of eating out

Here are some things you can do to accomplish this:
1) Decide what healthy meals you would like to take with you to work each day for the upcoming week.  Chicken, fish, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and veggies are perfect options.  Keep in mind I said HEALTHY.  Bringing a lunch doesn’t mean simply throwing a TV dinner in your lunch bag.  Living a healthy lifestyle takes work but it’s worth it.
2) Make sure you do your grocery shopping the weekend before – Saturday or Sunday.  To beat the crowd, my husband and I have been known to grocery shop on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.  It takes a while since we go to several different grocery stores.  Some of you may think we’re lame, I mean what cool person spends their weekend night at the grocery store?  LAAAMME!!  Well, we most certainly do so let me know if you want me to raise my shirt and show you my abs.  We get it done.  😉
3) Chop your veggies, cook your meats, make your grains and separate them out in to separate containers so each morning all you have to go is grab-n-go.  No excuses.


This challenge isn’t meant for the competitors and true fitness advocates who read my blog – you guys already have this down.  This is meant for all the folks who email me, write on my Facebook page, or approach me in person asking how they can work towards living a healthier lifestyle.  This post is also for the folks who, sorry to call you out, say that they’re eating clean when you damn well know you’re not!  Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m stupid…like I believe them when they say they eat “100% clean”.  Pfft.

I know this is easier said than done but keep in mind, I didn’t start where I am now.  In previous years I was heavy but I learned that small changes make a big difference.  It takes work, planning and commitment.  Make a decision.  Take the plunge.

Don’t forget to like this post.  :)

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