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Better Every Year

“When we strive to become better, everything around us becomes better too.” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Just some ramblings on self improvement here…

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Strength In Numbers

This past week has been a really exciting week for networking! It all started when Bret Contreras wrote a blog post titled “Where My Ladies At.” Be sure to check it out for yourself because it’s a very inspiring compilation of 13 strong women training hard in the gym!

Bret’s post was a take off of Nia Shanks Beautiful Badass movement. Nia is one STRONG female!! She can deadlift 300lbs and ladies, one look at Nia and you will see she is FAR from “bulky” – so get that silly myth out of your head right now if it’s your reason for not training heavy! I suggest you witness this for yourself, check Nia out here.

Monday after Bret’s post ran, Molly Galbraith and I were tweeting back and forth about lifting. That quickly turned into an idea of training together. She mentioned that she and Jen Comas Keck  were getting together to support Julia Kaufman Ladewski in a meet in August. I thought, let’s get some more ladies involved and one thing lead to another – now the weekend of August 20th evolved into a gathering of some serious brains, beauty and brawns! We will all be joining for one hell of a girls weekend to support Julia, train together and have a girls night out…including but not limited to Molly Galbraith, Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, Jen Comas Keck, Mandy Stafford, Nia Shanks, Jen Grasso, Julia Kaufman Ladewski and possibly Neghar Fonooni. I am SO stoked to meet these amazing women, train, talk shop and hang!

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I Must Eat My Words

I have a confession friends: for the first time in a while, I must eat my words! I am however, very excited to arrive at this current decision and I can’t wait to shout it from the roof tops and start hustling in a semi-new and refreshed direction ;)

Just last week, I gave a long-winded spiel about having goals, training for them, mastering new disciplines or methods, etc. I was forecasting over the next four months, I would live on as a Figure Competitor aiming for Team Universe (figure nationals) in July.

Well, I am a thinker and have continued to spin that wheel of thought in my head. I continued to do some “soul searching” and took a hard look at what my bigger goals really were. How I wanted to train myself? How I wanted to spend my time and energy? Where I wanted to grow my career? And ultimately – what I saw myself identifying with most?!

As of Monday, I actually arrived at the decision to take a break from competing for an indefinite amount of time (Gasp!) ;)

Over the past two and half years, I have had a really good time entertaining the challenges of the Figure Competitions and gaining a lot of knowledge about myself, nutrition and training. Not to mention, changing my physique and the wonderful people I have met along the way…all great experiences and gifts.

What became more clear in the last few days however, is my love for the strength and conditioning industry. That’s where I feel I belong right now. That’s how I want to spend my time. That’s how I want to train and what I want to study and that’s the direction I want my career to go in.

When I came home from the Arnold, I was in full speed momentum from the show. Naturally, I shifted my sights to the very next challenge and progression. As the dust settled (and just after I wrote last week’s blog post of course) – a few things became more clear….

1. In order to get an ultra competitive physique for the national level, I was going to have to change the way I was training in order to streamline my physique more – come in tinier. This meant trying a new method of very high reps (20-30) and naturally, less weight. After giving a few weeks to this style, I wasn’t feeling as satisfied with my training sessions and thought to myself- ‘I started in Figure because I love to train. Now that Figure is dictating how I have to train – do I want to do this right now??’
 
2. Figure competitions are also a whole-hearted commitment. I was getting mildly concerned I may lose touch with a bit of my involvement in the strength and conditioning industry if I continued this path to the top and I was missing it – so it became apparent where my heart was and where I need to spend my focus in terms of my career.
 
3. Finally, for the past two plus years, I have given a lot of energy and structure to the sport of competing. Now I’m excited to turn my attention into manifesting my life in other areas, especially my career in hopes to expand myself with the clients I train at FX Studios and bigger opportunities / responsibilities with Under Armour. Not to mention, I think I am going to enjoy taking a little bit of the pressure off and living a 28-year-old social life!
 
I embrace and respect the physique community so much - for their passions, how hard they work and for everything they dedicate to the sport. It has been a tremendous learning experience and has provided me the tools to really change my shape. I would never say I’m retiring, but I‘m excited to see where this new direction takes me.

What can you expect in the future???

Well, for starters, I am on my way to completing my C.S.C.S. I’ll also be working on the return of my athletic training in the gym (which will of course, have a plan!). I don’t want to stop being one of the stronger girls in the gym! I want to continue to look the part and move the part. Today, someone wrote me a line asking if I ran with the tires… he said “you’re such a small bundle to be that powerful“…that made me laugh because that‘s exactly how I want to be perceived!

So welcome back deadlifts, back squats, front squats, DB snatches, cleans, pull ups, push press, sled drags, prowler sprints, hill sprints, 300 sprints, etc! In the meantime, I’ll still be working hard on the dietary side to keep myself lean and performing optimally.

You can also expect I‘ll be posting more on my own training again, interesting finds on the topics of strength / conditioning and of course, motivational thought. I‘ll also be sharing my dietary efforts to stay in ship-shape and what meal plans, recipes and food pairings I come up with after having learned so much from Body Transformation expert, Carter Schoffer.

As with anything in life, things change. :) It’s been a long time since I’ve broken out of the routine of a Figure Competitor. In fact, over the past year, I have taken only eight weeks off. I am excited to see my dreams more clearly and pursue them freely. My client and I were chatting this morning about how so many adults wish to be a kid again. We were saying how great it is to be an adult and have 100% freedom to make the decisions and changes we desire in order to create the life we want. :-)

More strength and conditioning to come!! :-D

p.s. If you haven’t seen her yet, check out Jen Grasso’s website, Renegade Fitness. She is an extension of Jason Ferruggia’s Renegade Strength and Conditioning. Jen combines ultra femininity with being a badass chic in the gym! Check out her stuff!

Running Like A RockStar

Growing up (from age seven through seventeen), I was a soccer player. In between soccer games, I ran. I started strength training at the age of 15. Once graduating from high school and soccer, I pulled away from the strength training and challenged myself to half and full Marathons. After my first (and last) full marathon in the spring of 2005, I shifted gears back to the weight room. Despite putting away my time chip(s) for running, any way you slice it, sprints or marathons, running is in my blood.

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Today, I turned a corner with my training. Since my injury flared back up on April 1st, I’ve not been able to run comfortably–not even across the gym floor. Today is a beautiful day in Baltimore and something told me to give running a shot. I geared up with my latest Fresh Karat headband, running sneakers and MJ on the ipod. I walked through the back parking lot of my place and off I went. Wait.. No pain! My stride felt smooth, the sun was hot and the first song on my Michael Jackson play list was “…Keep on with the force don’t stop, Don’t stop ’til you get enough” …how appropriate :)

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They say injured athletes break records. Maybe world records, maybe league records and maybe just personal records. I was thinking about this as I have turned a corner in my training for my next Figure Show. Despite a herniated disk, I’m able to run again.. and comfortably!! This is a big deal for me in my training satisfaction / enjoyment. Not to mention, what new records may I break?!
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I think MJ is trying to give me messages here because the next song that came on was “Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it ..No one wants to be defeated, Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight, It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, Just beat it, beat it” (I thought appropriate regarding injury and the physical / mental frustration that can go along with them).

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Running, to me, is like food to my hungry fitness soul.. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but it is therapeutic to me. I love the freedom to move anywhere, the sweat that pours and the lack of any true equipment needed. Hence this song was next (and appropriate again Re: Running!)…

“Go on Girl…
The Way You Make Me Feel
You Really Turn Me On
You Knock Me Off Of My Feet
My Lonely Days Are Gone

…I Like The Feelin’ You’re Givin’ Me
Just Hold Me Baby And I’m In Ecstasy
‘Cause You’re The One For Me
The Way You Make Me Feel”
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That about wraps up my post today…just happy to be running again.. to me, it’s progress and satisfaction! Lastly, I couldn’t leave this song off my playlist nor out of my message…

“Well They Say The Sky’s The Limit
And To Me That’s Really True
But My Friend You Have Seen Nothing
Just Wait ‘Til I Get Through . . .

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad- Come On

And The Whole World Has To Answer Right Now
Just To Tell You Once Again,
Who’s Bad . . .”

;)

News Alert!

Some exciting news to share! Nick and I will be talking tonight with Kevin Larrabee of The FitCast. We are going to cover a wide variety of training information including everything from programing, philosophy, diet and personal specifics! Make sure to check back soon for this informative interview!