I Own This + WIAW

We create our own destiny.

I refuse to read my horoscope.

Someone told me that Mercury is in retrograde.  After Googling to see WTF that meant, I called bullshit.  There are times where life gets more challenging, time is short, motivation is lacking… but in the end we decide how we handle it.

Right now my struggle is on the superficial side, but a struggle nonetheless.  It’s diet.  I’m supposed to compete in 8 weeks and I’m struggling with getting back on track.  However, I’ve decided to allow myself to be flexible.  If I don’t make this show, there will be one the next weekend.  And the next.  And next year.  I came to that realization by being honest about where I am.  I talked to my therapist trainer Monday night and he reminded me that a lot is changing for me.  I got married.  It’s a new life.  I don’t have to do EVERYTHING at once (insert shocked face).  Doing stuff like enjoying dinner with Vegas on her birthday is more important right now.

don't think

That’s not to say I’m giving up.  But whatever happens… I own this!

One thing that helps is treating myself with healthy buys… like a haul from iHerb.  Beet powder (which I love in pancakes and Red Velvet protein shakes), Cocoa Cardio (Red Velvet Waffles!), peanut flour, and gelatin are daily staples. If you have any digestion “issues” I highly recommend it (here’s a post I did on it).  I’m trying the collagen version for the first time with this order.

Use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your first order!

Use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your first order!

Another motivator is energy.  I was thrilled when I received the two-10 discovery pack from FRS®.  The pack includes a big bottle of FRS concentrate, a sample pack of soft chews, and 2 cans of their energy drink.

My favorite thing about FRS is their ingredient list and why it was developed.  It was originally created by health scientists to provide chemotherapy patients with natural, sustained energy.  The FRS patented Healthy Energy formula has the all-natural antioxidants quercetin (found in blueberries and apples) and green tea extract, plus seven essential vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E).  I’m all about immune system support after getting the plague.

FRS

Not only are these drinks more delicious than the junk from the gas station, but they also doesn’t rely on chemicals, sugar and massive amount of caffeine to give you the shakes energy.

Vegas and I both loved the soft chews on our San Diego hikes.  I could feel the difference mid-hike as I raced Vegas up a hill.  I won, btw.

FRS #iownthis

So, I’m challenging myself to go with the flow and not be so hard on myself.  At the same time, I’m committed to doing my best and staying active.  It’s what makes me happy!  #iownthis

Learn more about the FRS two-10 discovery pack, and check them out on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of FRS.


This WIAW is 8 weeks out from my competition.  See above.

WIAW - New

Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!


Meal 1:

The usual morning cocktail, followed by my morning sludge.

Breakfast is the new standard – basil and garlic egg white scramble with a whole egg dropped in for #yolkporn.  Toast with coconut oil and cinnamon.

#yolkporn and toast

Meal 2:

I baked Sizzlefish trout with lemon and Italian herbs.  Eaten standing up with red bell pepper slices and kabocha.

Sizzlefish Trout and kabocha

Meal 3:

Chicken with sugar peas.  Simple… but a perfectly cooked piece of chicken is actually one of my favorite things.  That and hot sauce.

Chicken, sugar peas and hot sauce

Meal 4:

Rice cakes with Nuttzo nut butter.  I probably look forward to this meal a little too much.  I had one with chocolate protein “icing” too.

Rice cakes and nut butter

Meal 5:

Rinse and repeat from last night.  A giant peanut butter-sweet potato pancake made with Japanese white sweet potato.

peanut butter-sweet potato pancake

Peanut Butter-Sweet Potato Pancake

  • 2T peanut flour (an iHerb order)
  • 1/2 C cooked sweet potato
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp no sodium baking powder
  • 5-6 drops liquid vanilla stevia  

Blend and cook!

Meal 6:

I love yogurt.  Really.  I’m just as happy with bowls like this as I am with *most* regular desserts.  Well, average regular desserts.  Oh man, I love dessert.

Vanilla yogurt and chocolate fluff

This dessert bowl was 1/2 scoop of Growing Naturals vanilla rice protein mixed with plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, almond extract, and vanilla liquid stevia.  Then I mixed up 1/2 T cocoa powder and 1/2 T coconut flour with stevia and just enough water to make it a fluff.  Topped with crumbled leftover pretzels from the plane.  Sweet ‘n salty perfection!

***

If Mercury means being impatient, then maybe I am a believer… ha!

Do believe is horoscopes and Mercury and all that jazz?

What are you owning right now?

Strange But Good Travel

I can’t travel like a normal person.

At least I wear shoes…

Shoeless travel

Yes, I sent this to Passenger Shaming on Instagram.

The creepiest part was that when I said something to the flight attendant she said it happens all the time.  Apparently parents even let their kids go to the bathroom barefoot!  I have a friend that is a flight attendant and SHE said it happens on every flight.  WTF?!  End rant.

I’m on the other side of the country this week with Vegas (though not IN Vegas).  Being 9 weeks out from my competition, I had to supplement my travel a bit.  I brought chicken, turkey burgers, veggies, roasted sweet potatoes, and frozen Greek yogurt (a must – it doubles as an ice pack) with me.  Okay, I supplemented my travel a lot.… 

Read More »

Stand Up Desk + WIAW

Do you realize how much you sit?

It makes my hips hurt!

I’ve gone through a lot of “hacks” to have standing desks.  At one job I stacked up Girl Scout cookie boxes to set my laptop on.  When I’m at home working, I use the condo gym to build a treadmill desk.   I can’t stand to sit still.  Standing up while I’m working helps to improve my focus.  Hey!  Something shiny!

Homemade standing desk

When my boss suggested I look into a “real” standing desk, I was thrilled.  After some research, VertDesk offered to hook me up with one of their adjustable height desks.  Talk about not sitting still – I was bounce-off-the-walls elated.  The VertDesk even has a push button control to make height adjustment easy.  My co-workers can adjust it to their height and use it and, if I ever DO decide to sit, I can simply push a button to lower it.

We’ve all seen the articles about how sitting is killing us… but why exactly is a standing desk beneficial?

5 Standing Desk Benefits… 

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Competition Prep 10 Weeks Out + WIAW

I’m on the wagon.

Seriously. 9 days sober.

It’s finally time to get back on the stage.  I took a year off from competing to grow and it paid off well.  I put on about 15 pounds (20 at my highest)… and a decent amount of that is muscle.  Looking back at pictures from a couple of years ago, I can’t believe I was that tiny!

2015 Progress

I was hoping to be able to do Physique, but I’m not big enough yet so I’m staying with Figure.  Maybe next year…… 

Read More »

Leaving Las Vegas (for now)

I’ve never been so sad to leave a place.

But I’m not leaving for good, Sheryl Crow!

In an uncharacteristically impulsive move, when I flew back to from Tahoe with Vegas after we got married I decided not to take my next flight to Atlanta.  This was completely unplanned – my bags were re-checked to Atlanta, we’d been sitting in a airport bar waiting for my flight.

My bags went to Atlanta.  I stayed in Vegas.  With Vegas.

How could I leave this?!

How could I leave this?!

… 

Read More »

Winter Workout: Shoulder Strengthener

I’m learning not to make blanket statements.

Ever so slowly.

The whole “never dating again” thing.  Refusing to waste money on a Christmas tree.  Thinking seafood is gross.  The mornings I moaned I’m never drinking again!”  Thinking my shoulders are too big.  I take it all back

These days I can’t grow my shoulders fast enough.  It’s hard to believe that in high school I refused to wear tank tops because I thought I had “linebacker” shoulders.

GROW… 

Read More »

It’s Growing Season

Growing can be fun.

It can also be scary.

Want it more than fear it

Some days I feel powerful.  I go to the gym, lift heavy stuff… decide to be a ninja…. 

Read More »

Competition Blues

When a big event ends it’s a little sad.

What do I DO if I’m not planning and prepping?!

Rest is a good thing, but it can be a hard thing to swallow.  I’ve heard people talk about feeling down after races, weddings, babies… and competitions.  This time around I’m feeling it more than I did before.  I think it’s because I know it’s going to be a long time before I compete again (more on that below).

sprint2table-workitout

Today’s Work It Out is my attempt to get over it by focusing on lessons learned at Kentucky Muscle and The Rocky, and getting excited to make improvements.

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Season 2 Lessons Learned

1.  Support is Invaluable

Having my trainer and 2 very good friends around throughout the process made it 100x easier.  Surround yourself with positive people, even better if they can empathize.  Heather and Lisa are versatile friends – they were the perfect partners-in-crime in Napa for my 30th and for competing!

Check out the transformation from July to November (photo-editing courtesy Heather):

From Napa to the stage

From Napa to the stage

2. Big Shows are Tough

I’m not talking just the level of competition (though it is harder).  I’m talking mentally.  They are long, long days.  The Rocky show was the most disorganized situation I’ve ever seen.  They let too many people enter, causing the show to run so far behind that my group was just getting on stage for pre-judging when the evening show was supposed to begin.  That show began 2 hours late… by the time we went to stage again I no longer cared even a little bit.

Rock out

It was an exercise in patience, rolling with the punches.  Thank you for the lesson… but never will I ever do a Colorado show again.  In near-ish the future I plan to stick to smaller shows.  If you chose them right, they are still competitive but you don’t end up wasting so much time.  I get that they want to make money, but there needs to be a cut off for entries.  It’s not fair to the athletes or the people who buy tickets.

3. Celebrate Small Victories

Not placing Top 5 doesn’t mean you can celebrate the small victories.  It’s no secret that I hate posing.  It’s as far out of my comfort zone as you can get.  Lisa, who has seen me almost since day 1, watched me in Colorado and said it’s the best I’ve never done.

Now I need to work on GROWING… Open comparisons side

4. Growth Takes Time 

I’ve gained a lot over the past 2 years, but I’m still too small.  I feel like I look big in the gym lifting, but then you put me next to the other women and I look tiny.  My trainer, Steve, has been telling me I need to take a year off to really grow.  Competing every 6 months or so means I cut too often and lose some of the gains I make.

Steve and me

So I’ve decided to listen to Steve’s advice.  I’m taking a year off to grow.  This is contributing to the “blues” because I love having a goal line.

(I’m not always the best listener ← understatement of the year.)

5. Food is Good

My nutrition plan leading up to competition wasn’t so restrictive that I was miserable.  You CAN compete in a healthy way.  It doesn’t have to be tilapia and asparagus (click here for the “why” on asparagus) for months.  You never need to be hungry (I stayed full!).

Towards the end you do need to keep with super clean and avoid anything that could bloat.  For me, that meant a couple of weeks that were heavy on the white fish and asparagus.  I cooked 2 pans of it for Heather and me the day before our competition!

Photo courtesy of Heather

Photo courtesy of Heather, whose spice drawer I could move into.

The happy part about a bulk year is that I get to have alllll the foods!

Heather’s husband, Kirk, help me kick it off right when he made smoked salmon and eggs benedict for us the morning after the competition.  I am still dreaming of this:

#yolkporn

“I can’t wait to find out what happens on page number two.” ~Jennifer Nettles, Page #2

***

Check out Heather’s Rocky recap here.   I’m excited she’s already planning her return to the stage!

Have you ever experience the post-event blues?  What do you do to cheer up?

Who is on your support team?  Tell them how thankful you are this week!

The One Where Food Became Fuel

Food, in the simplest of definitions, is fuel.

 

I missed that memo.

Food, for me, has always been entertainment.  It’s art.  It’s an experiment.  It’s what I do when I’m sad, happy, grumpy, tired, bored… I love food.  End scene.

You might imagine that a limited diet is my worst nightmare.  I’ve been trying to prove you can still be creative on a competition diet.  You can… but the last week of cutting is HARD.  You’ll notice from last week’s WIAW at 4 days out, I still had a lot of variety.  This time around I decided to try something new.  Being more boring traditional.

I cut fat and am sticking to lean proteins (mostly tilapia).  My main veggie is asparagus.  My carbs are oatmeal in the morning and sweet potato after that.  I’m not hungry at all… but my palette is bored out of its mind.  Food has become fuel.

4 days out

 

Why am I doing this?  Quite simply, to see if it’s necessary.  I want to compare last weekend to this weekend.  Will it make a difference if I eat more like everyone else the week before a competition?  Only my abs time will tell!

The fascination with experimentation is what’s keeping me on track this week!

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I almost feel like I should apologize for the repetitive nature of this WIAW.  I am 4 days from my 4th figure competition.  It’s the last one for a long while… I promise next week will be more interesting.

WIAWbutton

Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!

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Breakfast:

I still start the day with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a ton of cinnamon, honey, and pomegranate atop a homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I really do love the turkey “sausage.”  It’s something I would make in the off-season too – they’re a great clean, low-sodium alternative to the store-bought stuff.

As usual, I ate it in the car on the way to work.  Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait!

Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait

 

Mid-Morning Snack:

Surprise, surprise.  Tilapia.  I did add some variety with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and purple sweet potato chips (with cinnamon).

tilapia and purple sweet potato

 

Lunch:

Fish variety at lunch – I had Perch with my asparagus.  The asparagus I pre-sauteed during food prep with shallots, garlic, lime juice, and herb.  I’m really loving the perch – it’s super mild.

perch and asparagus

 

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

Tilapia.  Again.  Added some variety in two ways: I used purple asparagus and I made it into ribbons!  Purple asparagus is thicker, so it makes it a bit easier to shred into ribbons.  Fuel can be fun.  Ish.

asparagus ribbons

 

Dinner:

Dinner was is my favorite treat – Sea Bass.  It even makes asparagus taste better.  Purple sweet potato is like dessert.  I topped it with some nutritional yeast for a nutty accent.

sea bass and purple sweet potato

 

Dessert:

It’s not really dessert anymore.  Tilapia topped with a blend of Mexican spices and cucumber with salt-free mustard.  Nom.

***

I prepped all my food to take to Denver today for this weekend’s competition.  Tilapia and curry-roasted asparagus are on tap for the plane.  Others on the flight are going to love me. #sorryimnotsorry

Do you view food simply as fuel?  Fun?  Something else?

How do you keep it interesting in the kitchen?

 

Kentucky Muscle Weekend

Body building has no finish line.

 

This is both inspiring and frustrating.

You work every day – like all goals in life – to be better than you were the day before.  This past weekend’s competition, Kentucky Muscle, was the biggest one I’ve ever done.  I didn’t place in the Top 5 (I came in 6th)… and while I knew I probably wouldn’t it was still a little disappointing.

Not going to lie… the “trophy” was a sword, and that just made me want to place more.  Who doesn’t want a sword to display at home?!

Kentucky Muscle pre-show

 

What I am proud of is how I’ve progressed since my last show.  This time around I had made gains and, more importantly, I felt better than I ever had before.  This morning of the show I felt centered, confident, and ready to get one stage with my best package yet.

On stage, I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d been in the past.  My posing still isn’t the best, but it’s better.  I am confident enough to walk out with a smile, know I’m not going to fall over in my stripper heels, and look directly at each and every judge while I move through each pose (that part is maybe the hardest!).

Kentucky Muscle

 

Back stage was also fun.  I met some new friends and had time to hang out with my House of Payne teammates.  It’s a crowded space, but everyone made the best of it; I’m continually amazed by how kind other competitors are.  I bummed rice cakes (which I’d forgotten) and goofed off with the girls in my class as we lined up to get on stage.  I almost had them convinced to enter the stage doing the “walk like an egyptian” dance. ;)

You may recognize my partner-in-crime, Lisa, from my last show and birthday trip to Napa.  Hannah, the blonde in the picture below, won overall Physique!

Backstage at Kentucky Muscle

 

The best part is always the meal afterwards.  We didn’t finish until almost midnight, but that didn’t stop our group from heading to a local late-night pizza spot.  See the pizza on the top right below?  I ate the entire thing.  With a Kentucky bourbon barrel beer.  And a peanut butter Oreo (which are fantastic, btw).

My trainer and I stopped at a local brunch sport, Toast, on the way out of town for one final indulgence before I got back on the wagon foe next weekend’s show.  We split some #yolkporn served on toasted brioche with harissa hot sauce and bacon, and a fantastically decadent bread pudding pancake served with a blend of warm rum raisin syrup and Irish crème sauce.  Sugar coma heaven.

pizza and brunch

 

Last, but certainly not least, I was especially excited to see Brittany!  She lives nearby and came to hang out between after pre-judging and for the night show.  Seeing one of my favorite Blends made the waiting game so much easier.  She is hilarious and kept my trainer and I laughing the entire time.

Thank you, Brittany!!!  I can’t tell you how much seeing a familiar face helps!

Me and Brittany

 

I’ll do a longer recap after next week’s Colorado show.  I spent the few hours after I got home grocery shopping and meal prepping to make it through a crazy week of work, workouts, and travel.  Lisa and I are headed to compete with the lovely Heather in her bikini debut at the end of the week!

I hope you all have a marvelous start to the week!

MMIM

***

That’s the short and sweet recap… I’m about to fall asleep.  Thank you all so much for the tweets, texts, comments on last week’s posts (I swear I’ll catch up one day), Facebook, and Instagram.  It meant the world!

Do you view your goals as a progression, or is there a finish line?

What would be your “treat” food of choice after something like this?  Heather just texted me with an amazing food idea for next weekend… woo hoo!