Monthly Archives: May 2013

Post-Show

The past few weeks have been absolutely insane! As a quick recap, in the past four weeks I’ve been to South Carolina, had four job interviews, GOT one of said jobs :), and graduated from college (….then went right back to campus two days later for three days of intensive review for my RN boards) all while keeping up with my workouts and clean eating!

Image

Getting ready for job interviews in South Carolina! 🙂

Image

Dinner post-graduation with some great people!

Hiking with the BF :) gorgeous day!

Hiking with the BF 🙂 gorgeous day!

Now, being in the “off season” I have been eating a lot more quantity and variety of foods! It’s been fun getting in the kitchen and experimenting! In fact, today I just made faro and barley for the first time ever! Haven’t tried it but I’m definitely looking forward to adding new grains into my diet!

Some of my fun, new kitchen experiments! Plus some of the eats from the new “Michele Approved” menu at The Meat House in Avon, CT!

Image

Beef meatballs

Image

Meatballs, spinach, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms

Image

Back Day Burger Wrap from The Meat House

Image

First time at the meat house! Roasted veggies, lettuce, chicken, homemade balsamic vinaigrette 🙂

Image

Turkey meatballs, roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts, faro, barley

Image

Pumpkin turkey soup with onions, peppers, oregano, cilantro, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg!

Image

Taco salad with ground turkey, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, cucumbers, avocado oil, and Greek yogurt guacamole! Mmmmm 🙂

All the extra food has really helped to improve my energy levels and I’ve been crushing it in the gym. When I first started with Cathy Savage Fitness back in February I basically went, immediately, into the competition prep phase so I never had the chance to truly build muscle. I feel like my body has changed more in the past four weeks than it did in the three months before the show! And that’s saying something, because there were definitely some dramatic changes in that first time period. I have arm muscles for the first time in my life, my abs are feeling super strong, and my legs and glutes are really starting to tighten up. And the only two things that have changed since before the show are my nutrition (more food!) and my cardio (LESS!). Before the show, I was terrified of what would happen post-show. I had heard horror stories of girls gaining 15lbs in a single week from binging and never quite being able to get back to clean eating. I didn’t want that to happen to me so I was very careful post-show. I most definitely enjoyed myself but I tried to keep it all in moderation. I found I was mostly craving hearty foods which probably made it easier than had I been craving chocolate cake the whole time. My biggest splurge was probably the 4-5tbsp of almond butter I ate straight from the jar! Lol.

As for the weight gain, I decided to not let myself know if it was happening. I have ALWAYS weighed myself. There was a time when I obsessively weighed myself every single day, sometimes even multiple times per day. The number on the scale determined how I was going to feel and eat that day. If it was good, I would eat like normal; but if it was “too high” I would restrict. It was an awful and very mentally taxing time of my life. I was able to get away from that compulsion a while ago but I still weighed myself once a week up until the show just to “keep tabs”. I made the decision after the show that I would finally just listen. I would listen to my body, my appetite, my emotions. I have stowed that sneaky scale away and plan to not touch it again until the next time I’m getting ready to “dial in” for a show. I won’t let the scale dictate how I feel; I won’t let it tell me how much progress I’ve made or haven’t made; I won’t let it tell me who I am. So, no, I don’t have any clue what I weigh right now, nor do I care. All I know is how I feel. I feel strong. I feel powerful. I feel energetic. I love my new muscles. I’ve discovered I love to cook and bake. I am happy. That’s all that matters to me!

Overall, this post-show period has gone better than I could have ever hoped! I feel incredible and I am loving life right now. Time to spend my summer studying for the NCLEX, working, spending beautiful days out in the sunshine, and getting ready for my big move!

How do you track your progress at the gym? Do you believe the scale is an accurate measure of your progress or do you believe there is more to it? What other ways do you track your progress?

Advertisements

Foxwoods 2013 – Part 2

Image

Presenting competitor 145, Claire, and competitor 146, Jenn! It’s really here 🙂

So, like I said last week, I competed in Fitness New England on April 27th. I told you all about my journey there, but today I’m here to tell you about the actual day.

My cousin, Jenn, has been a big part of my journey from day one. We signed up together, we trained together, we texted each other whenever we needed motivation or support, and we competed together. It was amazing to have her by my side throughout the whole process.

We left for Foxwoods on Friday afternoon and managed to make it just in time to snag valet parking and run like wildfire through the hotel to make it to check-in on time! After changing into our suits we headed over to the check-in location. Basically, check-in consists of showing Mama Savage your stage walk and posing. She makes any changes she sees fit and then she takes a look at your physique and diet for the rest of the day. She wants to make sure you are in tip top shape come show time! No changes were made for Jenn and I so we were sent on our merry way.

We decided to head over to our hotel which was a few miles away from the casino (and much cheaper than staying on site!). We were both exhausted but knew we had a lot left to do so we decided to start the tanning process. The Thursday before we had both been instructed to get a spray tan as a “base” color. I got the Aloha tan #3 which is the darkest you can get. I already felt darker than I had ever been in my entire life and I couldn’t imagine getting any tanner! But the next task at hand was pre-show self tanner! We had been told three coats minimum. I had a feeling this would be interesting! I got to work. I pulled out the tanner and the applicator scrub and went to town on my legs! I wish I had taken pictures but, wow, was this stuff dark! I couldn’t believe I had two more coats after this! The tanner was great though and it dried within five minutes. Just in time for us to head back to the casino for our Savage meeting where we got a great pep talk and motivation from all the coaches and from Cathy.

Post-Aloha Tan

Post-Aloha Tan

Post-JanTana

Post-JanTana

After the meeting we went back to attack and conquer the last of our tanning mission. Two more coats and approximately two and a half hours later we both felt sufficiently tanned and ready for bed! It was 11:30pm and we had to be up at 3:15am for hair and makeup. I know, 4 hours of sleep?? What lazy bums, right?

Well when my alarm went off at 3:15am I thought I was dreaming. “There’s no way that’s my alarm! I feel like I just went to bed!” Well that dream was shattered when I opened my eyes and saw my phone next to me and I remembered what the day was! IT WAS SHOW DAY! I think the adrenaline kicked in real quick because I jumped out of bed and threw on sweats and we headed out the door. No birds chirping, so sun rise. Nothing. Silence. This was what 3am felt like.

Hair and makeup flew by and before I knew it, I was meeting Jenn back in the lobby and we were on our way back to the hotel for food, tan touch ups, and SLEEP! We managed to sleep for about half an hour with our heads propped up so we didn’t ruin our newly done up hair or our drag queen makeup! And then BACK to Foxwoods for one last time! This time we’d be there to stay.

The day started off with a meeting for the whole competition and the Media which was basically taking our group pictures outside the theater. We spent a couple of hours before the show started backstage meeting all the girls and getting ready. We met so many amazing women! Some we had known from Michele Welcome’s posing camp and some were new faces altogether. But every one of them was supportive and encouraging. We got lots of good advice from more seasoned competitors and we supported girls who were just as nervous as we were for their first time on stage! There was no competition backstage. Just camaraderie and friendship.

The whole day after the show actually started was such a blur…but an amazing blur! Stepping on stage for that first time was a strange feeling. I normally have this sense of excitement for the few hours leading up until right before going on stage or doing any sort of public engagement. However, right before I go on, my heart starts to race, I start thinking of the worse-case scenario, and I get so nervous I can barely concentrate. This time, yes, my heart was beating a million miles a minute but it wasn’t nerves! It was still that excitement. I was pumped! I was ready for this. I had worked so hard and I wanted to show off all that work. I find this to be a testament to how much I have changed in the past few months. I have the confidence to ham it up on stage without even thinking twice about the fact that I’m being judged. What if I tripped and fell? With my klutzy nature that was definitely a thought crossing my mind, but I knew that I had been practicing and I could handle it. Plus, even if I fell flat on my face, I’d just get up, shrug it off, and rock it all the way to the other side of the stage! No big deal! Who is this girl? She wasn’t in there four months ago, that’s for sure!

The competition started at 1pm and awards didn’t even start until 9pm. As we waited backstage in a long line of competitors, I got to thinking about what a trophy would mean. Would it validate everything I’d put myself through? Would it make it all worth it? No. It wouldn’t. That’s because the whole day had already done that for me. I didn’t need the trophy and the flowers to prove to myself that I’d changed my entire lifestyle, my entire outlook on life. If I was doing this all for a $40 trophy and a bouquet of flowers, that’s not a really good motivator for four months of working your ass off! The women I’d met backstage, the coaches I’d worked with, my beautiful cousin, the entire competition day itself…and the journey to that day. Those are the things that made it all worth it. Those are the things that validated all my hard work. I saw women backstage in their 40s and 50s with families and full-time jobs. They wanted to lead a healthy lifestyle for themselves, for their children, for their families. They wanted to be role models. And you all are! You are my role models! I want to grow up and be just like them. Empowered, strong, courageous, healthy, beautiful inside and out. It would have been amazing to place that day and have Michele Welcome hand me my trophy and give me a big bear hug on that stage but it wasn’t necessary. I had already accomplished what I’d gone there to accomplish and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Here's to you, my Savage teammates! You changed my life.

Here’s to you, my Savage teammates! You changed my life.

xoxo,

Claire

Foxwoods 2013 – Part 1

This past weekend was the most amazing weekends of my life! For those of you who don’t know, I competed in my first fitness competition at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. There are so many preconceptions out there about fitness competitions but I am here to tell you that, at least when it comes to Fitness America and the Fitness New England show this weekend, all those preconceptions are untrue! To explain this to you, I really need to start from the beginning!

I signed up with Cathy Savage Fitness at the beginning of February. I had so many reasons for starting this journey but I certainly didn’t know where it would take me! I started off as a cardio junkie and a calorie counter with pretty poor body image and self esteem. I imagined that having a goal of competing in a fitness competition would change my views on fitness and healthy living. Counting calories, excessive amounts of cardio, and some pretty severe body dysmorphia were exhausting. I knew that the life I was living was no longer sustainable and I needed to make a change. I had no idea just how much my whole person would change from this experience!

I started off by filling out a questionnaire about my eating and exercise habits as well as about myself as a person. I then received a tentative meal and exercise plan and I got to work while I waited for a response. A few days later I got an email from Naomi, my new coach. Her email was peppy and got me excited and she got right into the nitty gritty with a meal plan and exercise plan specifically made for me! Needless to say, I was pumped. My exercise plan had me lifting more and doing much less cardio. It was very new and scary to me but I decided to do as Mama Savage always says and “Trust the process”. My meal plan was based on six meals a day and portion sizes, not calories, which was like this whole new world to me. I could eat food and not obsess over the calories? I’d never known a life without calorie counting. I had a hard time with it at first. I ate according to the portion sizes I was given but I counted every calorie that passed through my lips. I remember the first time I asked Naomi how many calories I should be eating each day. Her immediate response was to tell me to stop. Could it really be that simple? Just to stop? I can’t speak for anyone else but, for me, yes it was just that simple. I haven’t counted a calorie since that day! And it’s been so freeing!

Throughout the weeks I started to notice that I was getting stronger and my body was changing. Eating six meals a day slowly became a habit and meal planning/prep became a part of my weekly schedule. I started noticing more energy which translated into killer workouts! My idea of HIIT (high intensity interval training) went from jogging at a 5.0 and sprinting at a 6.2 all the way to sprinting at a 10.0 on an incline! My arms felt stronger, my butt started to lift, I started seeing new definition all over my body. I even started to see abs! All of these were the changes I had been chasing through years of overexercising and undereating. Who knew that what I really needed to achieve this was more food and less cardio?

Every week I checked in with Naomi and every week she gave me words of encouragement and made me feel so good about myself. My mindset slowly started changing and I stopped caring what other people thought of what I looked like and started loving my own body. I stopped looking in the mirror and critiquing everything I hated about myself. Instead I started looking in the mirror and noticing all the things I loved. Even things that hadn’t even changed – my eyes are this pretty shade of ocean blue, my hair is shiny and silky, my skin is smooth and clear. I say all these things not to sound conceited, but to show just how much my mindset changed. I was noticing things about myself that I liked that hadn’t even changed throughout this process! “I am beautiful” – That is something I’ve never been able to truthfully tell myself…until now.

I was definitely progressing but, in my mind, I was certainly no where near ready to compete. In early March I went to the Cathy Savage Fitness studio for one of the famous “Savage Sunday Sessions” where I was asked by Cathy why I wasn’t doing Foxwoods, which was a mere eight weeks away! I was floored. “Can I really do this?” “Am I really on track to be ready for this?” “Do I have the confidence and the guts to do this for real?” These were all the questions running through my mind on my way home that day. I knew that this was exactly what I had signed up with Cathy Savage Fitness for, but could I actually do it? With the encouragement of my friends and all the amazing women at the studio that day, my answer was basically handed to me on a silver platter. YES! I could absolutely, 100% do this. And I would do this!

Now started the hardest part! Getting ready for the show! At the time that I signed up for Foxwoods I had just begun my very last semester of nursing school. I was a full-time student, working 20-30 hours per week as a nurses aide, and doing 12-36 hours per week of clinical. I must have been crazy, right? Probably! But I wouldn’t change the experience I had for anything in the world. It showed me just what I was made of and exactly how far I can push myself before I break. And for the record, I never broke! (My boyfriend may tell you I came close, but I never actually broke!)

I got to work figuring out my theme wear, finding a suit, buying crystals to stone said suit, buying tanning products and competition shoes, booking hair and makeup appointments, going beast mode on my workouts, and changing my diet as appropriate for show prep (aided greatly by Naomi!). It was a lot but I was excited.

In late March I ended up finding out about some posing clinics being hosted in my area and I was pumped to get to them because I knew I had no idea what I was going to do on stage. The sessions were coached by the lovely Figure Pro Michele Welcome. I showed up for my first session with a pair of heels I bought at Payless, in a pair of spandex shorts and a tank top. Two hours later, I realized I had a lot of work to do! Stage walking and posing is so much harder than it looks!! I’ll admit, I was initially intimidated by Michele! She has this larger than life personality and she was so honest with everyone. I wasn’t sure how to react but she certainly had lots of good information to give regarding stage presentation so I listened! I practiced all week with her voice playing on repeat in the back of my head. I went back the next week with my Payless shoes and found that, sadly, I had not improved any more. However, my confidence had grown and I completed the entire session with my spandex and a sports bra, just like the other girls! And I also found that Michele seemed so much less intimidating to me…she was personable and her honesty was just there to make me better! She cheered me on even when I totally flopped at something and she gave individual attention to everyone. FINALLY one week later, my competition shoes arrived and I practiced practiced practiced. Then I showed up at Michele’s session and showed off my hard work. I can’t even describe the feeling when Michele watched me walk across the room correctly the first time and she started jumping up and down clapping and yelling with this huge goofy grin on her face! She ran across the room and high-fived me and said, “Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! You got it girl!” I was beaming! From that moment on, Sunday posing became the best part of my week! All the girls were so supportive and Michele just made it so much fun! I mean, seriously, how many of you can say that you have had fun walking around for two straight hours in heels? Nothing else, just walking? Well, I can!Image

My lovely posing ladies. That’s Michele in the black Savage tank. She’s pretty awesome 🙂

These sessions, undoubtedly, increased my self confidence 100-fold. Two weeks before the show I started walking around at class in my competition bikini and heels while people went about their workouts around us. Who were they to care or judge me for that? I was going to be on stage in two weeks in front of hundreds of people and I was ready for it! So why should I care about two people on treadmills 25 feet away? For the first time in my life, I didn’t! And that’s the moment I knew things were different for me. I haven’t counted a calorie in three months. I eat to nourish my body, I work out to make myself stronger, I love my body for everything it has accomplished. I love me.

Well I think I’ve rambled on long enough for one post about my love of being a Savage Girl! So maybe next week I’ll tell you about the show 😉

2/5/2013

1/27/2013

2/5/2013

1/27/2013

4/27/20134/27/2013