Diet or Exercise – Is one more important than the other?

What are your thoughts? 

Do you think diet is more important?

OR

Do you think exercise is more important?

Please share your thoughts.

Your comments will help me write my next blog post on this debate.

mk

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Budgeting for my 12 week prep

So over the past few weeks I have been researching information on show costs for participating in a competition. Holy cow! It is expensive, but I already knew that going into the research. I am determined to save, save, save and save up to be able to afford the costs for my show. There is a lot you have to take into consideration. I will post the prices when I begin prepping to show you how it all adds up. $$$

– federation membership fee

– federation card

– tan, makeup, hair, and nails

– bikini

– heels

– jewelry

– food and supplement costs

– Posing classes

– Trainer

Are you starting to get the picture? I have been asking myself, “How on earth is a 24 year old server going to be able to come up with the money that is required to participate in a show?” The answer to that is … I honestly don’t know. I am going to take it one day at a time and will do what I must to make it happen. I have a plan but it wont be easy and I will have to work very hard to achieve this goal. Nothing worth having comes easy and I am prepared to put in the hours of blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to be successful.

I would love some feedback from those of you who have participated in a show and have personally experienced the prep process physically and financially. I always welcome and appreciate advice!

M.

hardworkabs

 

What does fitness and exercise do for you?

What does fitness and exercise do for you? Does it provide a place of solitude from our less than perfect world? Has it taught you how to self motivate and have discipline in all areas of your life? Fitness has changed me as a person in more ways than I can count.

In the beginning it was all about looking good, am I right? I mean, there are always those problem areas everyone suffers with or so WE think. We want to get in the gym and fix them. Now, when I go to the gym I am constantly working on molding my body, building my muscles to look how I want them to look. I am also working on myself inwardly, teaching myself patience with my body in the gym and with my life outside of the gym.. You see, in the beginning looking good was largely about my presentation to the world. How does the world view me? Do they like what they see? Those thoughts consumed my mind as I was growing up. I think that is pretty much the “norm” for any teenager growing up in a superficial world.

Point blank: that doesn’t matter. Yes fitness and exercise is all about changing your appearance but, it should be deeper than that. You shouldn’t be working solely on your appearance you should be working on who you are as a person; growing stronger not only physically but mentally as well. Think about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicole Wilkins, or Ashley Kaltwasser… they all train day in and day out not only in the gym but outside of the gym as well. They have to maintain the highest level of self-control, self motivation, discipline, persistence, and determination to make it to where they are now. Those are characteristics that fitness and exercise has taught me.

I have learned self-control with my diet and have learned to listen to my body when it needs something like any nutrients I may be missing or craving. I listen to my “junk” cravings and control them as well. When I first started analyzing my diet and meal prepping it was hard, stressful, and frustrating. Now, it is like second nature. I cannot have a balanced day without the meals I prep OR without the exercise my body craves.

Self motivation is one of the most difficult characteristics for any person to learn. We can all find motivation through someone who is successful and who can offer wise words of wisdom because they have been where we are now, at the bottom. It takes a very strong person to get up in the morning and go to the gym because they know the goals they have set forth for themselves and they know that they want it more than they want to breathe. That is self motivation. You are motivated by what you want and not by what you see others have achieved.

Discipline, persistence, and determination I place in the same sort of category. I feel each of these characteristics are links in a chain. Without one or the other, there would be a missing link and an incomplete chain.

“It takes true determination to be persistent enough to learn the discipline it takes to achieve your goals.” – Me 🙂

Make sense?

Dig down deep and find your determination.

Be persistent and don’t give up.

Discipline yourself, don’t show up and do less than your best, ALWAYS work hard and success will follow.

I may not be where I want to be, but I am closer than I was yesterday.

M.

Dealing with gym intimidation

blog_gym_intimidation

Intimidation and lack of experience:

Two of the top reasons rookie gym-goers don’t want to be a part of a gym. Whenever I speak to someone about working out and the gym I constantly hear this:

“I want to work out but, I am really nervous about working out by myself because I don’t know what I’m doing and the people who are at the gym are really intimidating.”

Point blank, it’s all in your head.

I will agree that the “swole meat-heads” who are getting their “pump” in the weight section can be quite intimidating. I mean c’mon, they look like they could curl a train! But honestly they don’t care about what you’re doing. They don’t know that you have no idea how to work out. They don’t know your workout routine or that you are a newbie. All they care about is what they’re doing to get their own results.

So, how do you deal with this intimidation?

This is what I recommend:

1. Start with a workout partner

Workout partners are amazing. They help you feel comfortable in a new environment and if they have experience, they will be able to help and guide you through the basics of working out. If they don’t have experience, you both will be able to help each other through the process.

2.Listen to Music

If you don’t have a workout partner I always recommend listening to music. When you have those headphones in your ear it is like you’re in your own little world. No one will bother you when you have your head phones in (unless you have that one overly talkative person who goes to the gym to socialize instead of work out). Listening to your favorite kind of music also helps you to feel comfortable. You know your favorite music and it helps to relax or pump you up for your workout.

3. Do your research

YouTube is a blessing for anyone trying to learn something new especially exercises for working out. Practically every exercise you can think of can be found on YouTube. Utilize YouTube and watch the videos to learn the proper form and technique. Once you have done this research, write down the exercises you think you will be comfortable performing and take this list with you to the gym. When I first started going to the gym, I found it so much easier to stay on track when I had a list of exercises to complete.

4. Meet People

I know this is a tricky one especially for you introverts out there like me. I have always been shy but working in the service industry for so many years and interacting with customers has made it slightly easier for me to socialize with random people. I have found that a smile and a “hello” make a world of difference when you see people at the gym. I mean you are all there for the same common goal and therefore all have one thing in common: exercise. The personal goals are all different but the common goal is exercise. If you look at it from this point of view it should relax you enough to allow yourself to be friendly with others in the gym and should help lessen the overwhelming intimidation.

These are only a few ideas that have helped me from personal experience. Even though I am no longer a “rookie” in the gym, I am constantly learning. I don’t know every exercise and I don’t know the ins and outs of how your diet affects your progress. Health and nutrition is a continuous cycle of starting as a beginner, educating yourself and learning, applying that information, and then gaining the experience. This cycle repeats each and every time you find yourself learning something new. I can’t explain enough how many times I have felt like I started back at square one, like my first blog post. It is a part of learning. Don’t give up. Reach out for help if you need it. The fitness community, as superficial as it may seem, consists of many selfless people who are willing to help.

You have to step out of your comfort zone, throw away those negative comments and excuses you make to yourself each and every day.

You are the only one holding yourself back from reaching your goals.

M.

“Abs are made in the kitchen”

How many times have you heard the saying,” Abs are made in the kitchen”? I know I have heard it many times and I see it all over Instagram! It is honestly one of the truest sayings out there. No matter how hard you workout in the gym you cannot out-train a bad diet. It catches up to you eventually.

Over the past year I have been experimenting with meal prepping. I always do my best to prepare nutritious food to eat during the week when I am at my busiest. I tend to keep my meal preps very basic and I add small ingredients here and there to spice it up a bit before I eat. I always choose the following to prep:

  • Lean protein choice: chicken, salmon, turkey
    • Lean protein helps repair muscle tissue and aids in muscle growth. It also helps with the development of skin, hair, and nails.
    • Check out the following link for more information on specific protein sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/91587-four-major-sources-protein/

  • healthy carbohydrate: sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa,couscous, vegetables,etc.
    • Carbs are your body’s energy source; think of it as fuel to the fire. One of the most common misconceptions is that “carbohydrates make you fat”, this is just simply not an accurate statement! Think about it, too much of any food even healthy can cause weight gain. Carbohydrates can help you lose weight and help promote healthy weight loss. Moderation is key.
    • Check out the link below for six reasons why you should eat carbohydrates!:

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_exercise_tips/6_reasons_you_should_be_eating_carbs?page=3

  • Vegetables (a complex carb):I choose dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, or field greens. I also eat a lot of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus. Even though vegetables are technically carbs because they have carbs, they still provide important vitamins and minerals that other carbs like brown rice or sweet potato may not provide.
    • Dark green, leafy vegetables are excellent source of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. They contain important vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants in the body. Visit the link below for further information on how to choose these vegetables and how to store and prepare them:

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/fcs3/fcs3567/fcs3567.pdf

  •  Fat: I choose cooking oils such as olive oil or vegetable oil and I choose foods high in healthy fats like almonds, almond butter, avocados, etc.
    • Despite its name, fats are very important when it comes to a healthy diet. Fats are very important for energy and provide storage spots for your body’s energy. It also helps transport vitamin a, d, e, and k throughout your bloodstream and helps absorb them into your body.
    • Visit the link below for more information on fat and it’s functions in the body:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/43948-fats-important-diet/

mealprep

The picture above is from my meal prep today 🙂 I cooked quinoa for the first time. It came out bland. I am going to research some recipes to help season it up a bit. If anyone has any recipes you would like to share with me that would be so very helpful!

I also chose to cook broccoli because it is one of the easiest veggies to cook and one of my favorites!

For my protein source I almost always go with chicken. I add garlic powder, black pepper and this time I added a European Basil blend. It came out absolutely delicious and I did not need to add any salt. 🙂 I like bland/earthy flavors so you can obviously season your chicken with anything you prefer!

A couple of great low sodium or zero sodium options are:

  1. Mrs. Dash: you can get this seasoning at your local grocery store
  2. Flavor God: http://flavorgod.com/

Meal prepping doesn’t only have to be for the person who is a body builder or woman/man who is prepping for a show. Meal prepping can be applied to anyone’s weekly routine! It helps to have that food readily available when you’re tight on time. It is already prepared and cooked, just heat it up and chow down!

Happy Prepping!

M.

Destined for Greatness

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re destined for something more? That fire you feel within you burning day in and day out. Do you feel it?

The feeling that you are destined for something more than just what is; something more than the day-to-day activities that fleetingly pass us by like the wind through our fingertips. I do. I don’t feel like I was put on this earth to just wake up, work, pay bills, and partake in the small activities that keep our souls happily nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong I love my hobbies and activities I participate in but, I do feel that there is more that life has to offer than the “norm”. I do feel that I was put here to inspire and help motivate others as are so many of you! I can easily count on two hands the names of people who have come into my life and inspired me towards the healthy life I live today. I want to be that person someone turns to and says, “Thank you so much for inspiring me. You are the reason I now live a healthy life. You are the reason I was able to make a complete “180” and turn my life around.” To hear someone say those words would make my heart scream out with pure exhilaration.

I can’t wait to experience what the competition world has to offer me: the excitement, the glamour, the hard work: blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t wait to put in the hours of training and meal prepping it takes to succeed. You know why? I don’t expect anything less from myself. I know I will reach this goal of being on stage, win or lose. What sets you apart from the rest is confidence. Your self-confidence will radiate like the sun’s rays setting fires in other people’s hearts, a fire that will burn and motivate them towards achieving their own goals. I may not be strong every day but I can tell you one thing I get back up and get back at it, I don’t stop. I won’t stop until I am where I need to be, until I am where I know I should be.

So, here is my question to you:

Do you feel that you are destined for more, that you are destined for greatness? 

M.

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

The differences between bikini, figure, physique, and body building divisions.

For the past few days I have been thinking hard and long about my fitness goals. Do I want to participate in athletic competitions like power lifting OR do I want to compete in an aesthetic competition like bikini, figure, physique, etc.? So far, I have decided that I want to participate in an aesthetic competition but, here is what I realized … I honestly have no clue what the differences are between the different divisions! To help me help you here is the breakdown:

Bikini – Bikini competitors are judged on the following:

  • Balance and shape
  • Physical Appearance
  • Complexion and skin tone
  • Poise
  • Overall presentation

bikiniimage

(Ashley Kaltwasser)

Figure – Figure competitors are judged on the following:

  • Small degree of muscularity with separation (no visible striations)
  • Overall muscle tone with shapely lines
  • Overall firmness
  • Not excessively lean
  • Healthy appearance

figureimage

(Erin Stern shown above. This is the division I will be prepping for and competing in!)

Physique – Physique competitors are judged on the following:

  • Overall aesthetics and look that is found in figure
  • Muscularity
  • Shape
  • Proportion
  • Muscle Tone
  • Poise
  • Beauty flow

physiqueimage

(DLB or Dana Lynn Bailey)

Bodybuilding – Bodybuilding competitors are judged on the following:

  • Judged in weight categories
  • Presentation
  • Muscular development
  • Overall assessment of symmetry

bodybuildingimage

So there ya go!

Listed above are all of the differences between each division. Here is a side by side picture that will help show you the differences.

Bikini, Figure, Physique, Bodybuilding 2

I have always been under the impression that I have a body built for bikini. I think the posing is very feminine (which I like), the suits are sexy, and there isn’t a huge demand for overall muscularity. I also like the figure division and is what I will be competing in. The division does not focus on a large degree of muscularity (which I like) but they still have an ATHLETIC/FIT appearance.

Competitions take 100% dedication. They will test not only your physical strength but your mental strength as well. You have to be consistent with both diet and workout regimen. As of right now I feel like I have been training my mind for competitions. I meal prep and I have just recently started counting my macros (fats, carbs, and proteins) so I can get a feel for it when the day comes that I begin prepping for a show. Hey! You know what they say, “You never know until you try!”

M.

“I am too positive to be doubtful. Too optimistic to be fearful. And too determined to be defeated.”