The Feeling

Finishing a great workout on my way home I started to reflect on my workouts from last week’s vacation & decided to share…

Last week we flew to Vegas for the Mr. Olympia (the super bowl of IFBB bodybuilding) & drove to Ft. Irwin to visit family.  This gave me the opportunity to experience two different gyms during our travels; one with top of the line equipment at an Army base & the other a hotel fitness room that supplied the mere basics. Both produced some of the most exhilarating workouts I’ve had to date.

The Orleans Hotel & Casino was the host of the Mr. Olympia thus generating an establishment overrun with world status athletes & health enthusiast alike. The clientele consisted of people wearing assorted t-shirts attesting to workout ethic, carrying oversized jugs of water & coolers of food in tow beside them. The fitness center was minimal impelling users to be creative with what was available. When you are surrounded by professional athletes & diehard gym junkies pushing it to the max it’s an in your face call out, that nothing worth working for comes easy. It’s a process that involves hard work, discipline, flexibility, planning & most vital to the mix, a no excuse perspective. These top athletes didn’t arrive & maintain this level by opting to not workout out due to lack of equipment or overcrowded space. Hallways, counter space & body weight were being used to accommodate daily routines.

It’s interesting that not once did it feel like a burden squeezing through everyone to do a set. It’s as though we were all feeding off one another’s energy taking advantage of what our minds & bodies have to offer. The take home is no matter where you are or what your status is focus on what you do have.  Fancy this or that doesn’t make the workout.  The drive to get it done does.  Make it work & you’ll be pleased with the time invested.  The makeshift workout achieved its purpose & my body welcomed the shock.

Before Vegas there was the workout out at Ft. Irwin… the best way I can sum it up is euphoric. This was a workout I left the ear buds out to be sure to fully absorb my surrounding. Ft. Irwin is the national training center. Without a doubt the men & women of armed services are real life heroes. With much admiration it’s evident that dedication & resilience are common characters instilled in this group of selfless beings. Frankly the gym could have been stocked with resistance bands & milk crates. No equipment could measure up to the strength emitted from the presence of these men & women. As I moved along the weights I was swarmed with the reoccurring thought of how I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for these soldiers. We tend to think top of the line athletes are “bad ass” but it is the service men/women that are the true owner of the title. So when I saw the soldier putting up crazy heavy dumbbells like Tic-Tacs you bet I pushed harder, longer & for damn certain without any hesitation.  Again it was an energy that is hard to put into words but what a feeling.  I will forever remember my workout amongst America’s heroes.

The Unknown

6 days out from what will be my 3rd competition & I still feel like a bit of a rookie.  I believe even on the 25th competition there will still be the unknown factor.  This might be the very craze that lures us competitors to return time & time again.  It involves understanding you will push through grueling workouts, spend hours prepping food & practice posing till every muscle screams… without a guarantee of how the finished product will turn out. Yes, it is indeed that thrill of taking the adventure towards being your best & never checking out regardless of an unforeseen outcome.

I’m feeling extra amped tonight.  This afternoon I went to a team meeting discussing the backstage come show day.  This team, N-ER-G & Laser Sharp Fitness, have been phenomenal at eliminating several of the unknowns that come along with competing.   Behind the curtains can be just as nerve racking as the actual stage so it is extremely comforting knowing I have amazing people who I admire ready to help me.  I’m feeling very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of a team that cultivates such positivity & enriches the sport.

To also alleviate some of the anxiety that accompanies the unknown I meticulously log my contest prep.  Aware I cannot predict how my body will respond to upcoming preps it still creates a useful blue print to refer to (Actually I just finished looking over my last prep log & am reminded of some great insight going into this final week).  If I could only offer 1 piece of health/fit advice it is to log it.  Whether you are cutting body fat, race training, muscle building or wanting to feel good (<–my favorite) log your food, workouts & outcomes.  Perhaps not for the rest of your life but long enough to see what does & does not work for your body.  Even when I’m not in the midst of contest prep I log my food & I record personal victories & short comings via lifting, run times, new exercises.  Why torture yourself by repeating errors?  I’ve been there, done it & it was a waste of my valuable time.  Now knowing how my body previously reacted to different types of fuel & training I put in it allows me to continue to grow.  If you think it’s too time consuming or labor intensive then you don’t want to achieve your goal bad enough.  It’s up to you & it’s only a chore if you believe it is.

What unknowns are you going to conquer?

Picture by: Joey Lyday

Gifts to Give

A string of events this week has reinforced my views that 1, life is a gift and 2, a happy life is complimented by surrounding yourself with great people & taking the time to let them know how valuable they are.  I feel shameful admitting that sometimes through witnessing other people’s tragedy I am reminded just how precious life is.  Watching the friend who is dealing with the sorrow of losing a loved one to the heartache of hurricane Isaac’s aftermath these circumstances have prompted me to examine if my actions are aligning with my heart.

Competing is life consuming.  I’m always thinking about my workouts, food, posing, etc.  It is a lifestyle however it is also crucial for me to remind myself that it is a hobby, a hobby that has impacted my life for the positive but it is still a hobby.  As important as reaching my goals are I know it’s won’t be satisfying if I don’t do these things; recognize the people who have & are investing their time in me, reconnect to the values of my goals & putting it all into action.

For me this means starting right now with reaching out & thanking you for your support.  Writing has sparked a new enjoyment I didn’t know existed while at the same time creating a sense of tranquility.  This weekend I have been calling, texting & spending overdue quality time with loved ones.  I wouldn’t have come this far without their help & their support is priceless.  And finally connecting to the root of my values: make life better for myself & others.

My passions include healthy mind/body endeavors, art, reading & human/animal welfare.  People often express with the kindest intentions that I cannot save the world…this is up for debate with me however I know I CAN make the world better.  Following the twists & turns of my eclectic thought process an idea that requests your participation has come about…   

My requests to you:

1. Reach out & tell at least one person how special they are.

2.  Share the gift of yourself.  Make the time to be around someone who makes you feel great.

3.  Work on your goals daily.  Every day is a new start, if you fall get back up.  Accomplishment is    an  amazing feeling & there will be no denying that your actions are contagious!

As always thank you for letting me share my thoughts.

Best wishes!

Lastly if you will please take a few seconds to check out the site below.  A simple click provides a variety of aid to people, animals & our environment.  Choose the one that calls to you or click all of them!  http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1&ThirdPartyClicks=ERH_083112_THS_m