Last night as I lay awake in bed listening to the Civil Wars Pandora station contemplating life I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness.
I feel super stoked to be only four weeks away from my first NPC bikini competition.
Feeling positive, I asked myself, “What do I even miss on this [bikini] prep?”
The answer? Not that much.
Life is pretty good because I love working towards new goals.
Living on a calorie budget isn’t a cakewalk but it isn’t that difficult either.
There are simply a few key things I have had to give up.
I took a moment last night to jot down the things I miss.
This way I can share what sacrifices I have made to crush my goal of competing.
I want to note the “things I miss” right now for a few reasons:
- Some people might think these would be very challenging to give up.
- These are things which might seem silly like, “Why do you miss that?”
- This list will make you think about what you are willing to give up to make change and crush a goal.
- I want to discuss why I took these things out and why I miss them so we can discuss my strategy.
Check out these articles to see where I started and how I have progressed throughout these 16 Weeks:
- #BikiniPrep: The Beginning Stages
- #BikiniPrep: 12-Weeks Out
- #BikiniPrep: 8-Weeks Out Powerbuilder Status
For those of you who do not already know this, I do not have a coach.
I am coaching myself through this and relying on #Science.
Physique status (so you can see how slow change happens!!!)
January 2015 physique measurements:
Weight: 123 * waist: 28 in * thighs: 19.5 in * neck 10.5 in* butt: 30.5 inches
16-weeks out physique measurements:
Weight: 117 * waist: 26 in *thighs: 18.75 in * neck: 10.25 in *butt : 31 inches
12-Weeks out physique measurements:
Weight: 114 * waist: 25 in * thighs: 18 in* neck: 10 in * butt: 31.5 in
4-Weeks Out Physique Measurements:
Weight: 112-113 *waist 24.8 in * thighs: 19 in. (hello Cyc Fitness) * butt: 33 inches!!!!
Not once have I monitored or lowered my carb intake.
I am not eliminating certain food groups or specific foods.
No foods have been totally off limits.
Hell, if you read my newsletter yesterday you learned that I ate an entire Mista’s pizza in Chicago last weekend! (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free of course).
The only thing I plan to cut out at the 2-Weeks out mark is Truvia and other sweeteners.
I will finish the article with a list of things I am LOVING about my progress at 4-weeks out; I want to note the positive things that make it all worth it!
Things I miss right now during my #BikiniPrep:
(Side note: I actually had to refer back to my list I made last night when I went to draft this article because I didn’t remember what I missed off the top of my head. Hopefully that helps you understand how unconcerned I actually am).
- Sweet Green salads
Since the #bikiniprep started I have been to Sweet Green once and while it is amazing, it’s hard to track all the ingredients and it makes for a super high calorie salad.
You see if I go there, I want to get the Spicy Cashew dressing (150 cals); I will not go there and NOT get the amazing dressing or all the other toppings I love. That would be torture!
It’s not that the salad is that difficult to track, but for me, the calories not worth it. Please note that it most definitely could fit into my diet ever so often if I wanted to make it a priority, but I don’t.
If I decide to eat a SG salad it means I have to eat smaller dinner and lunches. I do better when I can graze on low calorie things throughout the day. It is better for me to stay on track eating my plain foods at home.
2. Copious amounts of PB2
Here’s the deal, I ate PB2 in a bowl with apple slices for the first eight weeks of my bikini prep… two heaping spoonfuls of it, sometimes four!
However, when I actually started weighing out 12 grams (one serving size) of PB2, it was so depressing I had to stop eating it because one, even two servings was not enough.
Now if I do decide to eat it (which I haven’t in about a week) I eat 3 tablespoons of it (1.5 servings) with 1/2 scoop of protein powder and an apple and I do it on a high calorie day. For me, the PB2 is just not able to be enjoyed the way I usually eat it so I miss eating it “big-bowl” style!
3. Having sushi for dinner
I think I listed this because I am eating sushi less frequently. But let me be clear, I have had it and will probably have it one more time before I compete.
I had it in the 6-weeks out week with my friend Jill.
What I miss right now is eating more than a few bites of sushi and eating this incredible, (fatty) salmon salad dish at Genki Ya in Boston.
4. Having lots of veggies
I miss eating triple-extra veggies every day. I stopped using kale in my shakes because spinach is slightly fewer calories. I stopped eating as many mushrooms and broccoli because measuring it is annoying and its 30-70 calories I could put towards protein or carbs that will fill me up more.
As calories drop lower I have to pick foods wisely; I choose foods I love, foods that fill me up and and satisfy me in moderate portions. I am also avoiding foods that need butter or sauces added to them in order for me to enjoy them, like chicken.
If you know me, you know that I am a huge veggie lover. I miss peas, carrots, edamame and I miss getting TONS of these items without measuring them at Whole Food’s salad bar.
5. Deli meat
Okay, confession: as I reviewed the list of things I missed yesterday, I saw deli meat and actually paused mid-writing session to go buy some. Therefore I missed it enough to give in and have a little. I did however, buy a low-sodium, nitrate-free brand from Whole Foods.
I have been omitting deli meat from my diet because I was eating way too much of it (it’s so damn convenient) and oddly putting spray butter and sweetner on it (I’m an odd girl, I know). So to decrease sodium and Truvia intake I took out the deli meat. Yesterday I only had three slices, so we are good there.
However I can’t wait to go back to eating more. I am obsessed.
6. Blueberry pancake syrup
I figured having real blueberry, sugary, DELICIOUS pancake syrup every day might be hurting my progress so at the 5-weeks out marker I took it out of my diet (except for one day per week).
I love eating this syrup on my egg beaters and oats in the morning with spray butter or a light butter spread and salt. SO GOOD!
To replace the blueberry syrup six days a week I have been using a sugar-free maple syrup and saving the real stuff for Saturdays. (No reason why I chose Saturday; it just sounded like a good idea).
7. Exorbitant amounts of Truvia
I have been trying to decrease my Truvia intake because I want to totally take it out the two weeks leading up to the contest and I don’t want to freak out.
Removing it from my diet completely out of nowhere would be like taking a pacifier away from a baby.
Cruel! But sometimes it has to happen.
In the last three weeks I have been eating less Truvia and also tracking it in my calories.
When I first began prepping I did not track any calories for Truvia. Now I am tracking this more regularly. It will be sad to take it out when the competition approaches because it makes life taste sweeter, but it will only be temporary!
8. Banana, PB2 and Hail Merry Macaroons in my protein shakes
I have a LONG list of yummy protein shakes I have created over the years. (If you want seven of my favorites, sign-up for the #Daretomove motivator and I’ll send them to you).
I have several things I love, ( love, love!) to have in my morning shake, like Hail Merry Macaroon cookies, 1/2 a banana, blueberries and of course, PB2.
However, at the 8-Weeks out marker I started only having protein shakes with Tripact Protein Powder, spinach, a dash of almond milk, water and Truvia to cut down calories.
I will admit they have grown on me and I like them now; but some days I miss the flavorful shakes I used to have.
A small part of me wonders, however, if I will just stick with the spinach and Tripact shake after the competition. It’s super filling; I am becoming more and more obsessed!
I miss wine because I haven’t had it since August 21st. It’s not worth the calories for me.
When you actually measure 4 ounces of it, for 125 calories (roughly) it’s a super depressing, tiny amount.
While I have still been drinking here and there, I have stuck to tequila and vodka and omitted wine 100%.
The fall weather makes me want wine…. soon enough!
10. Squatting over 175 lbs and benching over 95 lbs.
Yesterday 135 pounds felt very difficult for 4 sets of 5-8 reps.
As you know from the 8-Weeks out update, I was feeling much stronger than I thought I would.
I was also eating almost more then at 8-weeks out than I was at 12-weeks!
However, now things have begun to feel heavy.
My squat is naturally much weaker than my deadlift and I have had to be OK with not progressing it the past few weeks.
I am staying strong at 135 this week for 4 sets of 5-8 reps of the back squat and hope to hit those same numbers next week.
I have not benched 95 pounds or more since I did a chin-up with the 24kg kettlebell. The day I PRed my weighted chin up I benched 95 pounds for 3×5.
Lately I have been doing three sets of 10 at 75, or 5 sets of 5 at 85 pounds. I feel sad because I worked so hard to break 85 pounds on my bench. I know in time and with practice it will come back.
10. Sweet potato fries
I am a sweet potato fries connoisseur. I love them and seek them out on any menu I come across.
I rank restaurants based on their sweet potato fry capabilities and I have never given a score higher than and 8.2 (on a scale of 1 to 10).
Technically I am sure I could make my own versions at home but I am a bit too lazy. Plus, when I say I am craving them, I am craving the unhealthy, greasy, served-with-hella-good sauce kind you can’t make at home. Also, the kind that come with caramel or marshmallow sauces. #Sugar
I miss going to brunch and ordering sweet potato fries with my omelette or salad etc. I cannot wait to go to Trident (they serve a 7.35) and order some the day after the competition!
What I am loving about 4-Weeks Out progress:
Confession: I decided to put this section in spur the moment. I decided to add this section because I wanted to make sure everyone understands that I have experienced so many positives thus far in the prep. I miss the 10 aforementioned things but they aren’t things keeping me up at night.
Here are 10 things I love about the #BikiniPrep, even as the process intensifies.
- I love my arms.
I have never had a lot of arm definition and for the first time in my life I can seem some guns! I feel proud to SHOW the strength I know I possess.
2. I love proving to myself that I am capable.
Each day I hit my calories and protein guidelines, crush a workout or make a conscious decision to say “no” to a dinner outing, a dessert, or wine, more results come.
I love seeing my own progress and sharing stories or willpower and commitment with my clients. I am learning to believe in myself even more than I ever have. I feel empowered.
3. I love that my bras are not as tight.
Let’s be real, what’s worse than an uncomfortably tight bra?
4. I love wearing my dresses and dress clothes.
A lot of my dresses have always been tighter in the upper back and chest region…. even the upper waist area my entire life.
Blouses and blazers have always been tough to fit as well. I tend to store fat in my belly and upper body, therefore as I have gotten leaner my dresses are significantly looser and I love that feeling.
5. I love that I really don’t feel like I have given up much at all.
Sure, I can’t eat as much sushi as I want or as many Quest bars as I would prefer, but nothing has truely been “off limits.”
I simply have to be more careful with portions. It’s not easy every day but it’s also not that super challenging.
The only reason it’s hard sometimes is because I am a BIG eater!
The weirdest thing I think I have done thus far has been an intermittent fasting style of eating in the past few weeks (since 7-Weeks out).
I get up at 3:30 a.m. each day, do emails, coach at 5 a.m. train at 6 a.m. and teach spinning at 7 or 8, or have a client at 9:30 am (or both).
To do all of that and do it well I eat anywhere from 180-600 calories at 3:40 a.m. which is sometimes about half the calories I must eat for the day.
What ends up happening is me returning from my “day” at 10:30 – 11 a.m. and making a plain protein shake and shritaku noodles. Then I eat tilapia at 3 p.m. and call it a day for calories.
Essentially, I’ve been Intermittent Fasting! WTH?! Crazy! But it is working for me to hit my calories and stay sane.
6. I love adding variety into my training.
I have been trying some different exercises, conditioning circuits and bodyweight exercises that I used to never take the time to do.
It’s keeping the training very fun and I enjoy seeing how little tweaks to my programing make a difference in my body.
7. I love how big my butt is getting!
All the hip thrusts, heavy squats, pull-throughs, hypers, lateral band walks, frog pumps, clam shells, front squats, bulgarian split squats, standing long jumps, walking lunges, 1.5 RDLs and reverse lunges are working!!!!!!!
8. I love my shoulders.
Just when I thought they couldn’t get any wider or broader they did! I have now been asked if I am a swimmer twice in two weeks.
9. I love that I am beginning to find confidence in posing.
Here is a video from two weeks ago. I have a ways to go but I finally feel like I’m finding what angles work for me.
10. I love my strength.
I have had some troubles on my squat days. However squats are a tiny bit more mental for me because there is a slight element of fear in that movement/lift for me.
Even after trying to eat 600 calories at 3:30 a.m. (before I teach at 5 a.m. and go then lift), I have still unable to move as much weight squatting.
My deadlift however, is quite alright even on the deficit.
The deadlift has always been my number one passion and priority in powerlifting. I have fast hips from gymnastics and a very strong back. I also focus my programing around this lift, so naturally I expect it to be better.
During the 6-Weeks out week I hit a personal record at 250 pounds.
I also PRed in my weighted chin-up in the 8-Weeks out week.
At the tail end of 5-weeks out I casually deadlifted for fun after several chin-ups on a day I had sprinted in the morning.
I ended up pulling 225 for two sets of two reps.
My strength is what keeps me going. The training is fun and engaging. For me this would not be fun if did not love to train so much.
11. Being lighter makes bodyweight exercises easier!
I have been doing more bodyweight chin-ups, flips and drills than ever before because they feel super easy! I am going to test my chin-up max this weekend to see if I can now beat 14 reps!
The first backpack I did was fast and easy, but poor form so I had to do another one with better form.
I grew up doing competitive cheerleading which had some weird antics.
As silly as it seemed, in order to compete each team had to have their hair in these tiny ringlets, wear bright white, spotless shoes, tons of glitter, SHORT skirts, crop-tops and obscene makeup.
It was just the nature of the competitive cheer scene. And even though I despised the hair part, I still did it. It’s just what you do in that world.
Okay, so maybe I tried my best (I’m the one in the photos who forgot the talk socks).
I am going to commit to this NPC Bikini Competition the same way I did as a high school competitive cheerleader and college cheerleader.
I am getting hair extensions next week. I have the sparkly jewelry and I’ll of course have the crazy, dark tan.
I am going ALL IN, because why not!?
I don’t want to half -ass this in any way, shape or form. Do I care if I win or lose? Not really, but I want to give it my all!!
I anticipate being frustrated the next few weeks as energy levels perhaps dip and lifts decrease as well.
However to combat that frustration I plan on trying a lot of fun, new-to-me dumbbell exercises for challenges and excitement in training.
Above all I must hone in on my posing and my calorie intake. Those need to be the two main priorities in the final weeks.
Follow me @_Daretomove on Instagram for daily updates and stay tuned for the CROF Weekly Updates.
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