Monday, October 5, 2015


I have been on the fence deciding between returning to the gym or the roads. Marathon training through the winter sounded terrible, especially since I would have to run in the dark before or after work, as well as struggling to fit in long runs on weekends with the kids. I printed out a training schedule, ran the first two weeks, and then decided it wasn't for me this season.

I started spending time with a fellow bodybuilder and began to miss lifting heavy (and having visible muscles). One week back in the gym and I'm reminded why training alone was so hard through my first prep. Just like the saying you are what you eat, you also are who you hang out with. Which brings me to the latest life lesson I must preach...

Bulking is evidence of trickle down economics. When one person bulks, everyone in their sphere of influence bulks. When you have dinner with a bodybuilder on a dirty bulk that dinner may consist of a pizza, two Primanti's sandwiches, a giant frosted brownie, and a couple large beers. Everything they can't have on a cut is on the menu and portion sizes are a laughable recommendation. Their food scale is getting less action than the average Comi-Con geek and their bathroom scales are hiding in terror.

This orgy of consumption slowly turns into them storing food in your fridge, insisting on making dinner (because chicken and broccoli again isn't cutting it), and suggesting horrible dining options regularly. Next thing you know you're eating right along with them. Then you're shopping list starts to look like you've never heard of macros or IIFYM. And then you're looking at the dog and thinking how he deserves some of these treats. He's looking a little skinny. And maybe the fish too... 

And inevitably, you wake up to the truth one day. You're bulking by association. And it's AWESOME!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NPC Mid-Atlantic Cup Championships Recap

I've been thinking about getting around to writing this since May. It's been a crazy four months since my first NPC show and I should probably get this done before I start trying to get back to writing about running and my new passion, acro.

If you follow me on FaceBook then you know that I lost A LOT of weight going into the show. The last week I was eating only chicken, ground turkey, and asparagus for six meals a day. I was drinking 1-2 gallons of water per day while taking over-the-counter diuretics to pull the water from between my skin and muscle. I had to go for spray tanning three times leading into my debut and I still could have been darker. I booked my makeup artist and received my bikini. I already had my heels and jewelry and wig. I also had to get a mani/pedi. Needless to say I was running on empty and on the verge of losing it at any second the last few weeks.

The morning of the show I checked in and got my tan touched up. I had my makeup done and got changed into my bikini and heels. I would spend most of the day only covered by a short and very sheer robe. About an hour before my first class, the open division, went on all of us were shuffled into a tiny, hot changing room. We were all struggling to adjust straps and glue our suits in place (no one wants to see THAT wardrobe malfunction). There was last minute posing practices and pumping up. Girls were eating poptarts and mini candy bars to get a carb pump. And there was a team with the tanning company rubbing us all down with oil. I can only imagine that I should have been embarrassed or shy but I was too excited.

It was finally time to step on stage and I watched the first several girls walk out and pose. Finally my name was called and I thought for sure I would freak out. Thankfully all those months of practice took over and I posed perfectly with a huge grin on my face. I had a blast and felt like it was over in only seconds.

We were ushered back off the stage and back into the changing room and cycled back out for my second division (Novice). It went just as quickly and I was then facing hours of down time before finals that night. Based on my stage placement during the morning show I knew I probably hadn't placed in my classes so I wasn't too worried about getting touched up for finals.

 My coach instructed me to go grab a burger and relax. I happily complied by devouring a burger and some sweet potato fries at Burgatory before heading back to the venue. I felt really out of place being ridiculously tan, too skinny, and made up like a hooker. Everyone was staring at me and all I could think about was trying not to drool on myself waiting for food.

The evening show was just as hectic and fast paced as the morning. Shuffle through the changing room twice, get glued into my suit, have my chest/stomach/butt oiled, then stand in line to be rushed across the stage. The only difference this time was awards were given before we were hustled back off. I placed 8th in the Open division. I couldn't believe it and I was really sad but I still had another class to go so I returned to the line and went through it all again.

I placed third in the novice class. Of course, I still can't be satisfied with anything so, as soon as I was off the stage, I went to the bathroom and cried as I changed into my celebration dress. After a few minutes I pulled myself together and returned to Sean and my family outside. We snapped a few pics of me with my short sword and then it was off to Fuel & Fuddle for dinner with no restraints! That was by far my favorite part of the whole experience!

After the show, I found that there was so much pressure to return to 'normal' eating. Sean was tired of me meal prepping and saying no to beers or dessert every day. My friends and family wanted to go out since I had been reclusive for so long. Before I knew it I was bloated and chubby. I put on about 15-20 pounds in a matter of a week or two. It took me another week or two to reel myself in but then I got back on track.

My breakup a couple months later left me reeling again. But once I recovered I found that my passion for eating clean was renewed. I have now dropped back down to near my stage weight (about 123-125 pounds). I honestly would consider competing again now except for a few things. First, it is expensive. I easily spent a few thousand dollars throughout prep and the competition. Second, I can't have a social life while training that intensely and I have come to value my close friendships too much to sacrifice them again. And lastly, I have fallen in love with acro (and started running again). I can do acro for 5-6 hours a day on the weekend, come home covered in bruises, and still want to do it again the next day. 

So instead of doing what I'm 'good' at I have chosen what makes me happy. I do acro with my friends 2-3 days each week, run 5-6 days, and try to get out for a cheat meal, beer, and some conversation at least once a week. I may never have a perfect six pack ever again but I do have all of the best intangible things life has to offer now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Relationship Goals

Have you seen these stupid memes? I mean, relationships need goals but not the kind that have to do with eating junk food and buying matching crap. Or maybe I'm just being pessimistic.

Many things Everything has changed since I last posted. In a matter of a couple hours I went from engaged to single. I was left with my head spinning and my heart broken. I ached for the future that no longer existed. I hurt for my kids to lose someone they had come to adore. I tortured myself over what I should have, could have, done differently.

And then, one day, I woke up without feeling like a hole had been punched through my chest. I tried dating and found it held little interest. I made a lot of new friends but that was it. The whole affair felt like too much effort. And then I realized why. I'd finally found the right person... Me.

Not to be cliche, but yet totally cliche. I started running again. I started lifting again. I fell head over heels in love with acro yoga and aerial play. I began to eat again and then I began to meal prep and experiment with my farm share each week. I rearranged my apartment and hung up new pictures. Pictures of me and my new (and old) friends. I went to see concerts and eat at new restaurants. I took bike rides in my underwear with 500 other crazy people. Boating, swimming, and tubing happened along with a trip to the wave pool. I did yoga in Market Square. I was LIVING.

Life is once again bountiful

Die Antwoord easily earns my vote for craziest concert ever!

I learned to invert myself on aerial silks

 I managed to hang from a lyra on an aerial rig

Pittsburgh Undies Ride

Who doesn't want to hang by their neck?

New friends and water sports

I lost a lot of my zest for life and motivation after my competition. I'll recap all that happened in those final weeks and immediately after soon. But I've found something much bigger in the aftermath. I've found the one person who won't let me down. She makes sure I get up early to get to work before I'm scheduled so I can rise through the ranks in my career. She encourages me to try new things, like taking an acro class on Monday nights. If I need a spotter at the gym or a running partner, she's right there. And when I'd rather fall asleep on the couch than stay up for a concert she pushes me out the door.

Maybe it's hokey or maybe I finally found the missing piece that was actually there all along. All I know is, this relationship has goals, BIG ones. And you'll just have to stick around to see where they take me!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Honey, We're Home!

Sean and I officially live in the same state now! We picked up a U-haul on Wednesday morning and were on the road by 2PM. Unfortunately, we hit a snowstorm in West Virginia that lasted until we reached Pennsylvania around 3AM Thursday morning. We slept for a few hours and then unpacked the U-haul before heading downtown for my mother's birthday celebration.

Needless to say, it was a long day and we were both exhausted. We made some poor food choices and I definitely did not drink enough water. I didn't miss any workouts though! My coaches are surely disappointed but they gave me my plan for next week and I'm back on point. I also chose my show date: May 16 for the NPC Mid-Atlantic Cup Championships. If you're interested in attending the information is here.

Loaded and ready to roll

The rest of the update is in my latest vlog so check it out!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Forging The Future

Life is kind of like metal. Sometimes it's fluid and moving along. And sometimes it gets hard and it feels like you're stuck. Either way it's beautiful and tough. And it makes an amazing circle that can bond two people forever.

Sean's ring

Sean asked his friend to make the ring he will wear, conceivably for the rest of our lives. It arrived today and it's gorgeous! I can't thank Barefoot Forge enough for creating this work of art. You can also find them on Facebook here. Please give them a like and follow if amazing, handcrafted jewelry is of interest to you.

Handcrafted Damascus Steel Rings from Barefoot Forge

In other big news, I finally have a show date. I chose the NPC Mid-Atlantic Cup Championships on May 16. That puts me at roughly 11 weeks out right now! I'm really happy with my gains so far but I'm worried about leaning out. I'm trusting my coaches to guide me through all of this and I know everything will be just perfect if I stick to their plan!

Me - December 1, 2014

Me - Today

I've ordered my bikini and competition jewelry. I have my heels. It's all so real now. But first, I'm off to South Carolina to move my future husband back to PA! So, if I happen to be MIA this week, please forgive me. WE will be home next weekend! 

Have a wonderful week fit fam!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

You Can't Match My Hustle

I'm not one to let the opinions of others change me. If I was I probably wouldn't be rocking a hairstyle that's been compared to the Misfits or have six tattoos. I wouldn't have kept my pregnancy and baby at 19 and begun working in the 'man's field' of industrial radiography at 21. I wouldn't have bought my first home that same year or graduated college while working 80 hours per week on a power plant outage. I've never had things 'easy' and I never expected anything to be handed to me. I work for what I have and I work even harder for what I want to have in the future.

Tell me again how much you hate your job

As of writing this, I took control of my life 104 days ago. I walked into Anytime Fitness on November 10, 2014 and signed a contract that changed EVERYTHING. Over the last 15 weeks I have quit smoking and stopped drinking. That's right... completely dropped those bad habits. I overhauled my nutrition and turned my lifestyle on its head. I'm too busy keeping track of how many ounces of water I've consumed to worry about petty things and I'm not just content with my life anymore. I'm on the verge of joy at almost any moment.

I am looking forward to goofing off with this man for the rest of my life

Of course, my happiness, lifestyle changes, and accomplishments have brought out the haters faster than a tween chasing Bieber. At first I was kind of hurt and figured there was a misunderstanding of what I was trying to accomplish. Hence my first vlog on why I chose bikini and how I wasn't killing myself. It didn't take long for me to realize that the people tearing me down aren't just confused or worried about me. (If you're not a fan of vulgarity, stop reading now.)

NOPE. They're assholes. I'm succeeding in ways they've never believed possible. I'm taking what was once only dreams and turning them into reality. I'm chasing my future like a cheetah hunts down a gazelle. I'm hungry. I'm driven. I'm hustling. The haters can only project their failures onto me because they fear change. To change the course of their lives requires taking a risk. They are afraid of taking that first step. They fear failure, rejection, and the unknown. They fear ME.

In 104 days I have accomplished more than most people put on their New Year's resolution list. I have:
1) Quit smoking
2) Quit drinking
3) PR'd my 5k
4) I am up 4 pounds from my marathon weight and it's all muscle (proof here)
5) I changed careers. I lost my job December 23. I started as a Brand Specialist for DICK'S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon January 3. I passed my ACSM personal training exam January 29 and I start my job at Anytime Fitness this coming Monday. 
6) I joined the Flawless Physique Competition Team. Yes, I will step on stage in a bikini and enjoy every minute of it.
7) I got engaged!
8) I reached my goal of being able to do a strict pull-up. I can do ONE, just one, but I can do it.
9) I can deadlift my previous 1 rep max for sets of 8 now
10) I can squat more than my own weight

How you actually support a woman

And the best part of all, no one can take these things away from me. The hatred, the comments, the jabs disguised as a joke.... none of them diminish what I've done. I'm still going to marry the kindest and strongest and funniest man I've ever known. I'm still going to have two beautiful daughters. My life is still going to be full of promise. And I'm still going to reach my dreams. The only thing that changes is that now I know who deserves to be a part of it.

So, my dear haters, this is the end of the time I have designated for you. This is the last of my energy that you will drain. From now on your comments will be deleted and you will be blocked. I have goals to reach and dreams to chase. I don't have the time for your negativity and I won't apologize for cutting you out of my life. If you can't match my hustle then you'll just have to sit your ass down.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Week of WIN

My life is beyond crazy right now and, for the first time in a LONG time, it's ALL good! My last post was only a week ago and already things are changing.

The biggest change is the news that Sean got a job here in PA! I will be travelling to SC the first week of March (for the last time!) and then we will be moving him here! I am so unbelievably excited to have my partner in crime in the same state. We have been through so much and survived seven months of being 600 miles apart. Hopefully I will never again go weeks (or even days) without seeing his face! And once he is here the fun of apartment/house hunting begins! Oh boy!

This picture says a lot about why I am head over heels for this beast!

On top of Sean's new job, I also have one! Starting this coming Monday I am the newest personal trainer at Anytime Fitness Leechburg. I can't help but feel like this was all somehow meant to be. Sean and I had our interviews the same day. He got the job he felt was the best fit for him and I got the one I have dreamed of since I joined Anytime. They are going to allow me to take a week away right when I'm just starting to get Sean moved and the timeline for my training period coincides perfectly with the end of my DICK'S Pittsburgh Marathon job for the year. The schedules work together perfectly! I just couldn't imagine things being any better right now!

My training is still going strong. Thanks to Casey and Steve at Flawless Physique, I am stronger than ever and starting to feel ready to step on stage. I was looking at the South Carolina Bodybuilding Championships for my debut but I have no reason to travel to SC anymore! So now I am hoping to do a May show in Pittsburgh to coincide with the end of my marathon work and the beginning of taking on full time personal training. 

I have made a lot of friends at my gym already. And they push me every day! Today, two state troopers took time out of their own workouts to help me get my first pull-ups. I started with two chin-ups (in the video) and then was able to get a single pull-up as well! I feel like I could take on the world! Next goal is to lose the kick and be able to perform them strict!

I don't really have a conclusion for this blog. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me or cheered me on when things were falling about. I am not always an easy person to deal with. I'm not an optimist and I often let my hustle get in the way of my personal relationships. But a handful of real life friends and a bushel of my social media peeps have always had my back. I can't wait to pay it forward as I move into this next stage of my life!