Monday, August 31, 2015

Road Trip Snaps & A Side Project

Good afternoon, friends!

I am back after 10 days of holidays (woohoo, vacation time) and a full week of work. During my holidays I ran the Lululemon Seawheeze half marathon and also went up to Prince George to visit some family. The picture above was snapped outside of a shopping mall in Prince George actually, where I finally retired my old denim Guess slip on shoes (if you know me, you know I wore the crap outta those babies) and bought some Converse slip ons. Hopefully those last upwards of 5 years, too!

Despite the long drive (we drove 9 hours straight, with one pit stop to the gas station on the way there), it was great to see family we haven't seen in YEARS. I think the last time I went to Prince George was seven years ago, so it was definitely well overdue.

One thing I loved about our stay at the hotel was the GYM inside. We were heading down to the lobby one morning, and I noticed that beside one of the floor buttons it has pool/gym written beside it. Luckily I had packed some gym gear (minus runners, so I lifted in some flat footed shoes which was actually more comfortable), so Thursday was an upper body day and Friday was a leg day. On Saturday we headed back to the island, and by 8:15pm that evening I was home sweet home and ready for bed. There's something about sleeping in the car that makes for less than desirable sleeping conditions!

Back seat selfies before I started to feel car sick from the windy road home. I ended up laying down on a giant pillow and fell asleep for a bit. Almost had to grab my (dirty) oatmeal bowl and upchuck for a second there. Anyway, crisis averted! 

A little bit of scenery on the way home. The drive was absolutely beautiful! On the way there we went through Hope/Williams Lake, and on the way home we went through Squamish/Whistler.

I had my usual Sunday/Monday weekend upon returning, so I got back into the routine of going to the gym and meal prepping. The week went by so quickly because I was jam packed with client meetings at work, which makes today my Sunday. This is the first weekend in a while that I have been home without any plans (aside from a party on Saturday night), so it has been nice hanging out and getting stuff done around the house - and blogging, blogging of course!

Rewind to Saturday night: plugging my phone in to charge at 2AM in the morning:

Turns out the USB cord wasn't plugged in completely to the block on the wall, so I woke up to 38% battery Sunday morning. Beyonce feels my pain. Thank you, Beyonce.

So, for a few years now I became curious about personal training. I have a trainer of my own, although I have not been seeing her as frequently as I was when I was in competition prep, but between starting my own fitness journey and reading blogs, watching YouTubers online, etc, I was dying to learn more. It took me a long time before I FINALLY bit the bullet and signed up for the personal training certification course. That's right - I am on my way to becoming a certified personal trainer!

I handed in my first assignment Saturday, so here is to a new chapter & a new fun hobby on the side. We will see what this transpires, but this will be the first step in my next adventure. Here we go!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lululemon Seawheeze 2015 Half Marathon Recap

Good morning!

I am coming at you this morning with a recap of my 13th half marathon, the Lululemon Seawheeze. I am way behind on race caps on my page, so I hope to continue to update that as I blog more frequently.

The race was held on a Saturday in Vancouver, so on Friday after work it was officially the start of my vacation time and Ryan and I headed towards the ferry. It was quite the ordeal even getting on to the ferry, and this is because although we arrived an hour and a half early, we were ONE CAR AWAY (cue tears) from boarding onto our desired ferry. So, this meant we had two hours to kill at the terminal and ended up catching the 9:30pm ferry. I was upset, of course, and poor Ryan had to sit there in the car with me as I got all misty eyed and insisted that the weekend was over. Wah, wah, wah. A little dramatic, I'd say! By the time we arrived at our hotel it was nearly 12:30am Saturday morning, so bed was definitely priority as we had an early wake up call!

My alarm went off just after 5am on Saturday, and despite the lack of sleep I did sleep well. No interruptions, and the bed was super comfy, so that was a nice bonus! I made my usual pre-race breakfast of toast with natural peanut butter and banana and ate it while lounging in bed. Ryan woke up shortly after, and we left the hotel around 6am to head to the start. Since I came in from out of town, I wasn't able to pick up my race package on Friday. Fortunately, Lululemon offered a race-day package pick up, and it was a breeze despite the chaos of race morning! I put my timing chip onto my shoe and Ryan walked with me to the start, where I found my corral and anxiously waited to be on our way.

I have to admit, I was nervous as to how my body would do during this run. I am a huge believer in visualizing what you want your outcome to be, and for me that meant crossing the finish line in one piece. During my bikini competition prep, I didn't do a lot of long runs (my cardio was mostly running and elliptical, but not half marathon training specific). Once I was on my way, I immediately fell into a comfortable pace and told myself to just keep it there. Keep it steady and just keep going. "No matter how slow you go, just don't stop!" was my mantra, and I stuck by that until the very end.

The course is scenic and shows off all the views Vancouver is famous for. You run through Kits, along the sea wall and over bridges where there's lots of course entertainment along the way. From mermaids and drag queens to young dance groups and live bands, the Seawheeze keeps your mind alert while your body continues towards the finish line. I had volunteered for the Seawheeze during the first year it started, and since then I had always missed the sign up because it sells out so quickly. However, back in October of 2014 when I registered, I was fortunate enough to get through and snag a spot. I was absolutely thrilled and ecstatic to be part of the Seawheeze race, and I think having that positive outlook despite the ferry and commute troubles the night before definitely helped me along the way.

 Once you crossed the finish line, the volunteers gave you your golden carrot. This is by far the coolest medal I have ever received! Additionally, the race package was a reusable tote bag that had a water bottle inside, and their sponsor Saje included a little pouch with some natural aromatherapy goodies to help  with pre-race muscle soreness. AND you got a Lululemon hat and a post-race brunch. Talk about lots of race day goodies!

All in all, it was an incredibly well organized event and I can certainly see why there is such a cult-following for this race. I don't say that in a bad way, though! The Lululemon Seawheeze is like an exclusive club that also has a sense of community. Everyone is there working towards the same finish line, and the staff and volunteers make it such a fantastic, energetic experience. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the evening yoga and party (oh yeah, they have yoga Friday and Saturday and a live band on Saturday evening after the race!), but I am looking forward to being a bit more organized myself next year (read: no missed ferries) and staying to enjoy the whole festival. I only wish I took more pictures of this great event!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Road to IDFA: Part 2

Finally, part 2 of The Road to IDFA series is HERE! It is nearing my two month mark of competing in my first ever bikini competition. When we last left off, I was just about to step on stage.

Above is a shot of me and some of my fellow competitors. After they called us on stage, we lined up behind the scenes and then filed out onto the back line. This was it. I was on stage, both nervous and excited. When I practiced my routine at home and at the gym, I felt confident and comfortable, so I hoped this would translate on stage. However, as I stood in the back line up watching the other girls do their T-walk, I could feel my legs start to shake. When it came my turn, I took a deep breath and kept telling myself, "YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU GOT THIS!" 

So, I just took a deep breath and did the damn thing.


After the comparison round was over, we went back to the dressing room to wait for the results. There was a brief intermission during the show, where all the girls hung out, chatted, and practiced some more posing to pass the time, and then before we knew it they were calling us back on stage.

The whole group went upstairs to the stage, but only the top five were called out. One name was called, another name, and then MY name. I was in awe! Holy crap, I won third place in my first bikini competition. I felt so awe-struck, thankful, and happy that I had seen the journey through to the very end. No matter how challenging it was, I can honestly say it was worth it for that moment on stage.

The IDFA photographer snapped some pictures of the top five, and then the girls who placed fourth and fifth stepped off stage and he grabbed some pictures of the top three.

I immediately looked for my phone when we were back in the dressing room, and I texted my coach to let her know of the fantastic news. I also texted Ryan's mom and a few other people who had been checking in with me throughout the day with good luck messages and texts. I felt truly blessed and absolutely GIDDY with excitement and so many emotions. 

The best part was having my loved ones rooting for me in the front row. Ryan, his sister, my friend Disha, my sister & parents were all there for my special day. I would have been happy whether I won or not, but that trophy was the cherry on top of a fantastic weekend. After I had my stuff together, it was time for a celebratory meal. We headed downtown North Vancouver and enjoyed appies and drinks, and I had a mini pizza and some sweet potato fries. It was so great to celebrate with everyone! When Ryan and I got back to the hotel, I had a shower (had to shower off some of that colour before hitting the hotel sheets!) and crashed on the bed. Then, we watched a movie, ate some candy, and I was out like a light.

And just like that, the IDFA BC Classic 2015 came to a close and I was officially a 3rd place novice bikini winner. WOOHOO! What a ride!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Road to IDFA: Part 1

Photos from my pre-show shoot will be uploaded next week. Stay tuned!

On June 28, 2015, I competed in my first bikini competition in North Vancouver at the IDFA BC Classic. In the next couple posts, I'm going to recap my experience & then have a summary of what I have learned and what happens next. Read along if you are interested in following how my show weekend went!

Early morning spray tan. Coat number one, done!

Ryan & I headed over to Vancouver late Friday night after he finished work. I used some of my vacation time and took the week prior to my show off to help get prepared and ready for the big day. The week before you go on stage is considered peak week, and I was happy to use my extra time to sleep in (letting my body rest a little more than usual) and get all my meals prepped. Since we were staying overnight in a hotel, I prepared all of my meals for the weekend ahead of time. Fortunately, I booked our room far enough in advance and took advantage of the in-room mini fridge which made storing my food so much easier. When Friday rolled around, I packed up my cooler bag and we loaded up the truck. We were off to the big city!

After checking into our room, I headed to bed soon after we got settled. I didn't have to be up early on Saturday, but by the time we got off the ferry and drove to the hotel, it was nearly midnight and I was pooped! I am so thankful that Ryan drove me around all weekend. Peak week is great in that you really see the physique you have been working so hard for, but mentally I was quite tired and I knew focusing on driving probably wasn't my main priority. When we woke up on Saturday, we spent the majority of the morning in bed drinking coffee (for Ryan) and eating (for me) before we got ready and headed to Park Royal mall for some shopping. Saturday was easy going, and we made it back to the hotel by late afternoon where we just hung out watching movies. Since we were out and about in the sun all day, I felt very tired and SO glad to lay down once we were back at our room!

Looking fifty shades of sexy with my pasty face

My alarm went off at 6:50am Sunday morning, and as soon as I woke up I ate my first meal of the day. My meals were simple during the weekend. White fish and yams. Try having that six times a day for three days straight and see how much you like fish after that. I have had fish once since then (and it was salmon). Anyway, my first coat of spray tan was at 7:30am. I headed up to the make up artist's room, not really knowing what to expect. Turns out you stood naked in a large tent on the balcony of the hotel and she just went to down spraying you until you no longer looked like a Caucasian person. I wore a baggy black t-shirt, and this was my fashionable outfit of the day up until 4:30pm (the show started at 5pm). While I waited for my spray tan to dry, I relaxed in the hotel room and read my book, watched some tv, and impatiently waited for my family to arrive. I texted my mom back and forth, and soon enough my family was at the hotel (they were staying in the same hotel as us) and delivering post-show goodies. The cheering squad was nearly all here! We visited for a bit, then it was time for me to get my hair and make up done. While that was happening, my family went out exploring, and Ryan picked up his sister as she was coming to see the show too!

Ready to go!

Once I was all done up and wearing more make up than I probably have in all of my 23 years of being on this earth, it was time to double and triple check my backstage bag and get going! Fortunately, the show venue was only about 15 minutes away from the hotel. My parents followed us there, and Ryan dropped me off out front so he could find parking and I could head back stage. While I was heading into the venue, I saw a good friend of mine that was coming to watch the show. I was so happy she could make it! We chatted quickly before I headed inside to settle in.

Pre-stage rice cake with pb & jam. Oh carbs, how I missed you!

While I was backstage, I changed into my bikini and did some last minute lip gloss touch ups. I chatted with a few girls in the same category as me, and I was glad to know that they were all newbies too. I did not feel like a fish out of water, and I tried to mentally pump myself up as much as I could. To be honest, when it comes to positive thinking I am pretty good at it, but there's something about stepping on stage half naked for people to literally judge your body that makes you stop and think, "Hmm. Can I actually do this?" Of course I can! I had prepped so long and hard for this, and finally the moment was here. Before I knew it, they were calling us up on stage. It was time!

Next on the blog: The Road to IDFA: Part 2 (stage shots & how I did)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Madness + Meal Prep

"Yup, still fabulous!" - My thoughts after being sick for a week and spending zero time in the gym. I was so worried about being behind in my meals and training, but my time away from the gym makes me more motivated to make these next 10 weeks count!

On Saturday after work I hit the gym for my shoulder workout, then took my cardio to the trail once I was home. I found this fortune while I was en route home:

Perfect timing! I kept this as a reminder to continue being positive on this journey. It's easy to get kind of lost in your head and pay attention to what other people are doing, but at the end of the day it all comes down to me. The mind is a powerful tool, and I refuse to be nothing but positive! Whether or not I place in this show isn't a huge priority for me. Of course, it would be nice, but what's more important is that I learn from these six months of training and enjoy the ride (as hard as it is - I miss having carbs four days in a row).

Every Wednesday I check in with my trainer via email, which consists of me sending progress photos and updated weight. I am not about to post these photos on here (not now, anyway), but one thing I will share is that my carb cycling has changed as of Wednesday. I was three days no carbs, one day refuel, but now it is four days no carbs, one day refuel. Thankfully my body is getting used to running on basically veggies and protein only (aside from protein shakes, but those are pretty much a different food group on their own in the world of prep), but the first week of carb cycling I felt so hungry! My morning snack usually had some kind of carb in there (vegetables are not counted as carbs), but now that is gone unless it is a refuel day. I must say, I wake up feeling lean on those days after carb cycling. Either way, I am looking forward to a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and sweet potatoes with my lunch on Wednesday!

Monday = leg day!

Here is kind of a run down of my day. I have Sundays and Mondays off, but I still woke up at a decent hour in the morning because I had a busy day!

7:00AM: Wake up, drink water, make breakfast (egg white omelette with mushrooms, onion, and spinach), drink coffee with almond milk and stevia.
8:00AM: Get ready for the gym, pack gym pack and grab reusable bags for grocery shopping after.
8:25AM: Start workout
9:30AM: Check in with personal trainer (down another 2.5(ish)% body fat, inches stayed mostly the same, weight is about the same too).

9:50AM: Pick up snacks for Brownie meeting on Tuesday and buy a ton of fish, including tilapia, salmon, tuna & shrimp.
10:30AM: Get home, shower, get dressed.
11:00AM: Make a quick lunch/bite to eat: tuna salad with broccoli slaw
11:40AM: Leave for a Brownie meeting with other leaders to plan an upcoming camp
12:00PM: Arrive at cafe where we are meeting, ordered a coffee and tossed salad.
2:45PM: Get home after running a few more errands. Make a protein shake.
3:15PM: Get on elliptical for cardio
And basically from 3:30PM onwards I relaxed, painted my toe nails, prepped lunches for the week, and Ryan BBQ'd us dinner (veggies and dijon salmon). Now we are just hanging out while I type up this post for you!

Some shots from meal prep this evening:

Tilapia and veggies. I also cooked up some salmon.

Lunches for the week! Since Wednesday is my refuel day, my lunch has some sweet potatoes in there rather than the usual fish + veggies. I switched things up a little bit and made a few salmon salads to take to work. Since store bought dressings are not in my meal plan, I like to use dijon mustard in my salads because you get a lot of flavor without having to load it on.

Time to get ready for bed! I hope you all had an excellent weekend. See ya soon!

(For more pictures throughout my prep, be sure to follow me on Instagram!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Playing Catch Up & New Motivation

Hello, friends!

Long time no chat. I was watching YouTube videos today and realized I hadn't posted on the blog in FOREVER. Since March 9th actually, which feels like an eternity. I wanted to stop in and catch you guys up on what has been happening this past week. Spoiler alert: not a whole lot!

Since March I have been puttering away through my prep. I have to remind myself that I am not doing the show in May, although most of the girls in my group are. This means they are leaning down more than I am at this point, and I have to constantly tell myself to be patient and just trust the process. I am about ten weeks out from my first bikini competition, and luckily I still have some time because last week I came down with a gross cold/flu bug kind of thing that wiped me right out.

The photo above was taken on Thursday after my chest and cardio workout. I was feeling a bit off, but figured it was because my body was tired and just ready to go home. Generally my workouts take place in the evening and while I do find I have energy to complete them, last Thursday I just felt "meh" about it all. After doing my cardio workout, I hopped on the treadmill and ran 5km. YES, I RAN! Some of you who have followed my journey (as sporadic and random as my posts are) know that I started off my fitness "career" running. However, since starting this competition prep, I haven't ran much at all. Thursday's 5km run was a small victory in my book.

I woke up Friday feeling like a dump truck ran over me. My head felt as if there were a helmet strapped on and constantly squeezing my brain, and my throat was swollen and ears were crackling. I left work early on Friday, stayed in bed all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday, AND today. Holy cow, was I never knocked on my butt from this bug. It is Tuesday evening and I am finally starting to feel like an actual human again.

I did have some company on Saturday, though. A big thank you to my parents for stopping by with this awesome care package!

Ginger tea, blackberries, an acai berry smoothie, my favourite roasted red pepper soup by Pacific, my favourite fruit gummies, an energy nut bar that I have been slowly picking away at (as my throat permits), plus soup, lemon, lime, ginger & Emergen C. Ryan has also been bringing me home things like soup, Powerade, lozenges - so I am pretty well stocked!

Maybe it was the cardio that knocked me off my feet on Thursday. I may slowly be convincing myself that cardio is the enemy. Muahaha.

If only, if only.

Throwback to a couple Sundays ago at the gym. Posing practice followed by cardio followed by a veggie and egg white fritata with steamed broccoli on the side. So good.

I have been researching competitions more and more the closer I get to June 28th. Of course, most of the things I have read about revolve around American body building federations such as NPC, but the people I have been watching have a whole different approach to the food part of competing. Some follow a meal plan as set out by their trainer (which is what I am doing), and some do this process called if it fits your macros (or IIFYM), I personally enjoy my meal plan (for the most part - too bad red wine isn't part of it!), but there are some parts of IIFYM that I am curious about too. The only downside I see is that with IIFYM, you may not be getting as much protein as you would in a structured meal plan. For instance, if your macros say you should only have 90g of protein in a day, then I am way over that! I personally have 113g of protein alone in my lunch, alongside a butt-load of veggies, so it would be interesting to see how it compares. Neverless, I have found almost a new burst of motivation to complete these next ten weeks to the very best of my ability. I know I can lift heavier and be more consistent with my meals, so I am ready to grind out the next ten weeks and bring a fantastic package to the stage!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up & The Ultimate Tea

"Oh, hello! I didn't see you there," Simba says as he looks up from his book. When his favourite parent, Holly, wants to take time to sit and read a book, this is when Simba feels it is the perfect time to crash the party.

I know, I know. Dropped the ball last week on the Monday posting. Just when I was doing so well, too! Let's kick off the week with a recap of what's been happening lately.

Spoiler alert: nothing too exciting, since we can't celebrate my birthday any longer. Ho hum. At least my half birthday is coming up in August! Just kidding. I don't celebrate my half birthday, although maybe I should start.

So, the usual work and gym has been going on as per usual. Right now I have fish and rice cookin' away, doing some meal prep before I head off to the gym for glute day. I have a love hate relationship with glute day. Hate how many lunges I have to do, but love feeling accomplished after.

Let's all take a moment to look at the baby abs I have going on. Note: this is before morning cardio, minus 4 litres of water in my body. Once I start drinking water, abs are pooched. Belly becomes a pooch. You get the picture.

Forever posing in the bathroom at the gym. Hey, gotta get it right on stage!

Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the week. Sunday fun day! Usually on Sundays I have posing practice followed by cardio and breakfast with Ryan, but yesterday since my trainer is on vacation, we didn't have posing practice. My Sunday routine was a little backwards, but great nonetheless. The morning consisted of sleeping in until 9AM (ah, glory, glory) and drinking coffee while watching tv & eating my morning oats. It's always nice to get a slower start to the morning, and there's something about the vibe on Sunday that makes me feel less inclined to rush around. That's what the week days are for.

After puttering around the house doing things like dishes and laundry, I got my cardio for the day in on the elliptical and then headed to the gym for my workout. On the schedule today: back & biceps! 

I am loving this top! Ryan and I went to Victoria on Saturday, and fortunately I had a Lululemon gift card from his family to spend. Ah, they know me so well. The back detailing on this tank top immediately caught my eye, and the built in sports bra is an added bonus. I wore it with a pair of Lululemon Wunder Unders (which I turned inside out and am wearing to the gym again today... Hey, don't judge. They are reversible). Once my workout was done, I did some grocery shopping and came home to relax!

My all time favourite tea of the moment: chocolate super berry burst.

Not overly sweet, and I just drink it plain! So tasty.

In the evening my lovely sister came to hang out. Of course, Simba being the giant suck that he is was all over her. We drank coffee lots of coffee and watched The Voice. Is anyone else into that show right now? It always makes me so nervous for the singers, waiting for someone to turn their chair.

And with that, we are back to Monday again! Mondays are my Sundays, so it'll be another Sunday Fun Day! I am going to finish my meal prep and then head off to the gym. Then, pedicure time. Woohoo! Enjoy the week ahead.