Operation: Happiness!

Well here it is already the end of August. Can y’all believe it? Grab some Joe && settle in this could be a long one.  I have some things to share.  Lots of things, thoughts, experiences, etc. It’s been awhile…life gets busy I tell ya. And, I ain’t about to miss out.  That’s the one thing I won’t do. But, I’m in my happy place right now. Cuddled up with hot coffee in hand and my sweet Dolls lying right beside me…we’re blogging away. This is one I’ve been waiting to do because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to portray my experience, what I want to say. My mind and thoughts have changed a little here and there regarding fitness. I guess just like they do regarding anything you do for any long amount of time.  Do I want to share the good or the bad or both about my competition experience and my thoughts.  The thing is I want to be honest. I like to keep it real. No sense in making it sound like something it’s not.  I’ve always been real with y’all about my fitness journey. So whatever you’re reading is me pouring my heart out.  Nothing sugar coated here.  If you’re a competitive bodybuilder and that’s your thing then GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I respect you, but I don’t want to be you.

I thought I did. I did what I said I was going to do to find out if I should be.  I completed my figure prep & competed in a body building show in Washington, DC. on August 8, 2015.  What an experience…my first rodeo. I don’t even know how to explain it or the process.  And, I’m going on record to say I do know there are MANY different approaches and different types of coaching in bodybuilding…different folks, different strokes. I’m not saying any one way is better or worse than the other because the only way I know is the road I took.

I’ll do the best I can to sum it all up. Last I had checked in I believe was shortly after honeymoonin’ in Mexico…ahhhhh. Take me back.  But, boy does that seem like too long ago. 3 months ago! WOW I’ve been married for 3 months. SWOON. ❤   A lot has happened since then…to my body at least. I did get right back on track like I said I would.  Those weeks drug on and on and on. Pretty much the same foods day in and day out.  Strictly clean.  No treats. I thought August would never get here and now I wish I could go back for other purposes…not to prepping. Haha. I worked hard those long drug out weeks though…On show day I was down to around 12% body fat.  THAT IS LOW. Well to me anyway…I don’t know about ya’ll.  And, I don’t really care because if there’s one thing I learned through all of this and even before…the only thing that matters is what you think about yourself and your body.  Let me tell you I was feeling like an itty bitty peanut and even a weakling. I don’t like that.  No thank you.  I’ve never been “little.” And, I don’t want to be…when I started all this it surely wasn’t to be little.  It was to be fit and strong.  A badass. To deadlift HEAVY.  Those were my goals…it’s definitely time to get back to that.  Sure I want to keep a somewhat lean physique, but not a stage physique.  Nope. I felt like my skin was so thin it was just stretched across my muscles and bones. Literally, it did. You could see veins, lines, striations, bones…just weird, but just what those show judges are looking for I guess.  I’m not so into the veins and stuff. Maybe that should have been my first sign. LOL. And, they’re still lurking around…big fat juicy veins running right up my arm that’s so darn attractive I know.  So so feminine 🙂

The process I had to go through to accomplish my goals was nothing short of misery at times, but something I owed to myself. I set a goal. And, I’m not a quitter. I will forever carry with me the work ethic & self discipline I gained from this journey along with many other things.  I learned SO much about myself and my body and my husband and my friends during this journey. My husband and my friends (Daniel & my dear friend/lifting partner Brittney were my rocks) were the only reasons why I didn’t give up at times. There were times I wanted to quit so bad…on any given day I did want to quit, but as I said I’m not a quitter. And, looking in the mirror at the end of the day seeing all my hard work pay off was just enough to keep me going day in and day out. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but an experience I will treasure for a lifetime as it taught me a lot of things I did not know about myself and it helped me discover things I definitely needed to know.

Like for one, the fact that I do not like the way I feel at 123lb.  I did like the way I looked…somewhat.  But, the weakness was pure misery.  I stepped on stage at 123lbs. I started my prep around 135lbs. I was happy when I started. Definitely wanted  to change some things about my body, but overall I was happy & strong.  Meaning I never intended to lose much more weight rather I just wanted to lose a few more pounds of body fat and then rebuild my body a little differently. Once you strip the fat I’m learning that your body looks and feels much different once you begin to gain it back if you reverse diet carefully.  THANK GOODNESS! My goals did change when I decided to compete although I’ll admit I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. I thought I did. But, I don’t think a person can fully prepare themselves for a prep the very first time.  There’s just no way.

Sooo, I haven’t weighed in the 120s since I was in the 4th grade people. 4th grade!!! The whole experience still feels surreal. I am currently in my 3rd week of reverse dieting weighing 127lbs. Basically, that means I am slowly adjusting my body back to a normal eating routine by slowly adding carbs and healthy fats back into my diet and sparking my metabolism back up.  Yes, I said I’m slowly adding them back because I cut them out.  Pretty much down to nearly nothing.  By the end of my prep I was on very little carbs and fats, and none on some days, which definitely took a toll on my body.

I will say this to anyone and everyone who ever asks…this competition prep was the most unhealthy “healthy” thing I’ve ever done meaning there was nothing healthy about it really. Not mentally or physically. For me at least. Your body NEEDS carbs and fats.  Period.  It needs them to function. It needs them for metabolism. It needs them to think. It needs them to sleep. There is nothing healthy about cutting nutrients that you need out of your diet. I’ll just put that on the table.  I am fully aware that it’s kind of stupid. But, in order to have what others don’t you must do what others won’t, right? I’m not judging anyone who competes or plans to FYI…after all I did it myself. This is just MY blog && if you don’t like it get off of it right now! 😛 I did learn how to make myself a healthier person mentally and physically because of it though. To me it’s just not a healthy matter…I can try to explain over and over, but it still won’t do the process justice I can tell you that…

Imagine a 12-16 week cutting process. Mine was even a little longer due to…life.  Yes, life happened. I GOT MARRIED!!! ❤ && honeymooned. Anyway, what this means is that you want to cut down as much body fat as possible so you can expose all of your musculature that you’ve worked so hard to build.  In the particular class I competed in the judges want you LEAN.  They want to see muscle cuts. They want you to be very conditioned meaning NO jiggle.  Let’s be real we all got a little jiggle so imagine how I felt going into this. I jiggled in A LOT of places. Yes, I was fit. But, you still jiggle a little even when you’re fit.  (((There’s a HUGE difference in being fit and healthy && being competition fit.))) It took me so long to figure this out and I’m still learning to accept it. NO ONE should be in the shape they are in on the day of their show year round.  It’s just not possible & it’s definitely not healthy. Anyway, in order to do this you must go through intense and rigorous training and cut carbs and fats out of your diet. I trained 6-7 days a week.  I lifted weights nearly 2 hours a day and completed cardio nearly every day as well.  30 minute sessions around 5 times a week in the beginning to TWO 45 minute-1 hour sessions a day, 7 days a week towards the end of my prep all while still lifting weights.  Keep in mind every week to 2 weeks my meal plan changed…little by little my calories dwindled, my carbs disappeared, my fats were gone…along with a lot of my strength and happiness. It got to the point to where I didn’t even attempt to lift heavy because I knew I would fail…& I couldn’t risk getting hurt.  And, y’all know how I feel about my deadlift days!!!

There were days I thought I’d never make it. I know these are the days I will look back on and thank myself for not giving up.  I gained something from this prep, actually I gained a lot from this prep…can’t quite put it into words, but I did. I know I don’t seem to have many positive things to say about it, but the experience itself you just can’t put a price on in my book.  It’s hard to explain really.  It’s like a love/hate feeling to the most extreme on both ends.  If that even makes sense.  But, I did gain something. Maybe it’s knowing that I’ve pushed my body to it’s absolute limits and never gave up.  Maybe it’s knowing that I did something most people can’t or never will do. Or maybe it’s just knowing what it’s like to be a “body builder” and knowing that I can be just as bad ass even when I’m not a “body builder” ya know…YOU CAN BE A BODY BUILDER WITHOUT A STAGE!

 The last week of my prep was definitely the hardest of all for me.  No carbs, no fats, and water depleting all at the same time. On show day…NO water at all. -__- This is the most important week of all though. It can make or break you they say.  It was HARD. It was MISERY. I was weak.  And, by weak I mean like seeing stars and having jitters all day long. But, I did look like…a figure girl!!!

I made it to show day and that was a whole new experience.  You get about 8 shades of orange (spray tan–AND for me to say orange that’s saying something cause y’all know how I like to be bronze!), you glam up and make-up, you wear the the most sparkly suit you can find, and you walk on stage to showcase to the judges all of your hard work and dedication.  Basically, you show the judges how this lifestyle has consumed your entire life for the past 3-4 months and they get to decide which woman worked the hardest, put in the most effort, and was able to pull it all together on that stage in various mandatory poses at that very moment.  Is that even fair? Is that even cool? Maybe, maybe not.  I’ll leave that for you to decide.  WE made that decision for ourselves when we chose to compete. Regardless, I did have fun. I know I’ve ragged on this whole process, but I have to admit that.  I have never felt so accomplished in my entire life like I did on the day I strutted across that stage.  I had the biggest grin & I felt like a ROCK STAR. I was happy for sure, but most of the happy was probably relief to be completely honest.

I even placed.  Holy cow!!!!! Fat girl to figure girl.  I went from weighing 200lbs to placing in a body building competition. MIND BLOWN. Still is.  Haha.  I took 2nd in novice, which is basically a class where none of the women have ever won before & 5th in open, which is a class where any level or experience can compete.  I was more proud of my 5th place trophy…some of those women were BIG. They had worked for far longer and far harder than me.  They deserved it.  But, I DID IT…I made it through the journey!!!!! That was my goal and I accomplished it…to place was just…like pizza && donuts. Haha

As I said now I’m in week 3 of post show reverse diet. I know this is very important for me.  This is a very fragile period for me as I know where my body can go if I let it. Been there. Done that. Reverse dieting is extremely important for getting your metabolism back on track and with my history of obesity I know I have to be on my game. And, I am of course 😀 I’ve been doing my research and trying to do everything I can to properly reverse diet.  Nobody is perfect.  I have added back more carbs and more fats this week. And, of course I treat myself because I can…I DO WHAT I WANT. I have had IHOP, Pizza, Steak, Ice Cream…some other things. But, I can and do control myself of course! I am finally feeling like I have control over my life again. Ask yourself what it feels like to not feel in control of your life, your energy level, your strength, etc.  IT SUCKS. I am up 4 pounds from stage weight, which is right on track according to my coach. I’m not worried about the scale at this point…I was for a few days after my show, but not now.  Not now that I am back to my heavy lifting && feeling on top of the world. Plus, I’m enjoying feeling like a woman again. I won’t be staying in the 120s anyway. At least I don’t think I will. My goal right now is to slowly ease on up to a lean 130ish to 135.  I’m happy there.  We all have our happy place and that’s mine. It doesn’t have to be yours & that’s okay. I just know I feel very strong there. I feel womanly there. And, that’s MY goal for myself.  Set your own…DO YOUR THING!!! Be happy…that’s all that matters!

Like I said I slowly feel my strength coming back to me.  I slowly feel my happiness coming back to me. I’m doing yoga with Dolly on a regular basis again.  I’m loving that my husband can spend time with me versus prepping my meals and pushing me to continue my prep 24/7. I am even cooking for him occasionally! Crazy I know…haha. But, it’s all starting to level back out.  I wake up so motivated to go to the gym!  I had lost all that. I had lost my fire toward the end…it felt more like a job.  A hard, miserable job.  I loved the way my body looked on the day of the competition don’t get me wrong, but at what cost. Fitness and health has NEVER felt that way to me before…like a burden.  It’s my life and it’s who I have become. It’s something I do with Daniel. It’s our thing and it always has been.  Competing took that away from us for a little bit. After having it back these last 3 weeks I will NEVER let that happen again. When I felt myself dreading to workout, dreading to run, dreading to lift weights, dreading to meal plan…that’s when I knew physically competing against other women  is not something that will become a huge part of my life. I don’t care if her shoulders are bigger than mine, her glutes are tighter than mine, her back is wider than mine. Her’s won’t do me any good. I care about my shoulders, my glutes, my back. MY body.  BUT, more importantly I care about how I feel…that’s the biggest thing I learned throughout this journey.  Fitness is not ONLY how you look…it’s a being.  It’s looking AND feeling good about yourself.  I now know that if I’m in the gym killin my workouts & feeling strong…the looks will eventually follow. In fact, now that I look back they always have…the more work I put into all this the more my body changes for the better.  And, that’s my PEACE of mind.

I’m not saying I would absolutely never do it again, but my goal in life is to be healthy and happy. That’s it.  I don’t need a trophy to prove that. Not a 1st place trophy or a 5th place trophy. I don’t even need to stand on a stage.  I have proved to myself that I can get lean. I can get muscle cuts. I can get a 6 pack.  All those things are for ME.  Not a judge.  Not anyone else.  Fitness is not my claim to fame like I once thought it might be. I’m not trying to make a living by being a competitive body builder. I’m not trying to be a fitness commercial or sale my body.  I’m not trying to do anything other than be a healthy and fit woman who helps others do the same thing.  Being an inspiration and a help to others is plenty enough for me.  I don’t want to beat anybody…I want us all to win.

I’ve finally learned that I’m not ONLY in this for the looks…I’m in this for it all.  The long haul.  The health, the well being, the happiness, the yoga with Dolly, the time spent with Daniel, the strength, the discipline, the hard work, the feel good.  Becoming healthy and fit has given me so much more than just a nice body.  I’m in this for much more than I ever thought I would be, but I’m definitely not in this to be judged by anyone other than myself.

This is only my opinion and I have a huge amount of respect for professional bodybuilders don’t get me wrong. This is definitely some people’s thing.  I say go for it if it is. ROCK IT! Those are some of the most hard working and dedicated individuals in this world and I can say I’ve been there…experienced it first hand. But, MY thing is to be a badass fit wife to my amazing husband and a yoga mom to our sweet Dolls and to cook healthy meals and to help others achieve their heath and happiness and most importantly…to enjoy life. So I’m gonna do my thing! 🙂 You do yours!!!

stay strong,

Kimber  ❤

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