Stepping OFF the Scale.

Some weeks are better than others, and some weeks are better than you think. I stopped stepping on my scale about ten days ago because the number kept going up. At first little by little, and then I was three pounds higher than where I wanted to be. That messes with you head.

When you're dedicating months of your life, to achieve a goal, you make benchmarks you want to hit. Your daily schedule is dictated by this one goal, and when you stop hitting those benchmarks....it messes with your head. 

I've been trying to lean out and I have been feeling leaner and my "abs" make small appearances here and there, but that damn number on the scale is going up!? So I walked into last nights workout/checkin with my coach feeling just kinda womp. Ya know?

So we took body fat measurements, the true test. And let me tell you, that womp feeling was turned right around!! I haven't tested body fat in six weeks, so at eight weeks out I was at 14.6% body fat which was honestly an awesome starting point. I was worried about getting that down, I'm naturally lean, would my body lean out that much more?

I am so proud to say at 15 days out I am at 11% body fat. 11%! I've never been 11%. 11% feels good on me.

Right before we started the caliber measurements I asked Johnny what we were hoping for. He said 11.5% would be great and that was his guess to what I was at. Well take that 11.5%! I'm 11%.

So let's talk numbers. I'm really glad I stopped weighing myself daily, it's good to check in every few days but you cannot dictate your success based on a number on a scale. In the six weeks since my last body fat check in, I had GAINED 1.5 pounds of muscle (which is kinda rare and really exciting because that's when I've  been "cutting" and normally when people lose muscle mass) and LOST 5 pounds of fat! Whoop!

I was frustrated that the scale wasn't changing the way I wanted it to but I was getting leaner which now all makes sense! While I was losing fat (good thing) I was gaining muscle (GREAT thing). So see?? The scale is not all it's cracked up to be.

New goals: Lose 1 pound of fat, and sit at 10% body fat when I walk on stage.

Other really exciting developments...

I did my first pull-up last night!

Do you know how hard it is to do a pull-up? Really hard. It was one of my resolutions. Nailed it.

So ya see, sometimes a womp kind of week just really turns around.

Also I had some really yummy meals this week.

15 Days. Get. At. Me.

21 Days: Highs and Lows

I'm exactly three weeks out from the Jay Cutler Classic Boston today. THREE WEEKS!! Hard to believe it's so soon. I'm making progress that I feel really proud about. It was a tough week this week, kicking my training into another gear, adding morning cardio sessions, and have three extra depleted carb days. This was the first week I really felt like my diet was taking a toll on my body. Coach saw it too, so today I got a high carb day!! Whoop Whoop!! Pancakes on pancakes for me!

For this weeks' check-in I thought I'd share my highs and lows for the week. Always starting with the lows so we can end on the high notes!


Lows:

- My diet was TOUGH this week. I've been sitting at 1359 calories for a couple weeks now. This week on my non-lifting days (two cardio days and one plyometrics day) my carbs were almost entirely taken away putting me at 1189. Hard to stick to and hard to maintain energy to get through the day.

Energy levels were at an all time low. Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday I had a hard time keeping my eyes awake and my body moving! Just felt like a slug.

Huge apology to my coworkers who felt that wrath (Sorry Steph!). I was Hangry Erin.

- Morning Cardio. I'm a morning person in the sense that I like to wake up early and lounge in my Pjs and drink coffee on the couch for an hour before I start my day. I don't like morning workouts. But to jump start my metabolism for the day, coach gave me two days to do morning cardio. 30 minutes of hills. Just how we all like to start our days.


Highs:

- Leg day. This should probably be a high and a low. KILLER leg day on Monday. My body responds best to high reps and this workout was all supersets, high reps (15-20), 3-4 sets, lunges lunges and more lunges. OUCH!! But a really good ouch. My glutes were sore for 3 days. 

Nike Outlet. A new shopping center just north of the city opened a while ago but my world revolves around where I can get on two feet, thus I hadn't been yet. Ryan and I ventured out there and HELLO NIKE OUTLET!!! It was beautiful. Too exciting really. I got red shorts, a couple t-shirts, a cute striped sports bra and new shoes!!

- High Carb days. Enough said.

- My favorite songs for the week!

  • "Steal My Sunshine" - Len (throwback!)
  • "Peanut Butter Jelly" - Galantis 
  • "Unbreakable Smile" - Tori Kelly
  • "Say My Name (feat. Zyra) - RAC Mix - ODESZA (on repeat!!)
  • "Trampoline" - Kalin and Myles
  • "America's Sweetheart" - Elle King (currently loving everything by her)

- PROGRESS!!! I've felt great this week. Strong, fierce, and more and more ready everyday.

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." - Fred Devito.

4 Weeks...What did I get myself into?

I have a tendency to jump into things without researching them or even fully thinking them through. It usually works for me in the end and I end up with some experiences I'd never take back but I do feel like I'm back there again. 

I'd actually never been to a bikini fitness competition until last weekend (five weeks out). One of the girls on Team Anthrofit was doing a "pre-show" (she's competiting with me in four weeks but wanted a little stage practice first), so a few of us road tripped down to the south shore to support Jenn.

Jenn is the brunette smokeshow right in the middle. She looked amazing and so comfortable on stage. When I get up there, I hope I have half the grace a poise she did. Well done lady!

So I'm sitting in this auditorium with my coach Johnny, two of my teammates, Ashely and Loren, and Jenn's BF Ryan and all the sudden it hits me like a ton of bricks. That's going to be me in five (now four) weeks. Excuse my language but I just had this..

OH SHIT

kind of moment. Know what I mean??

I'm not sure why it took me so long to realize it but actually standing on stage, in a bedazzled bikini, clear plastic heels, 14 shades of tan, and posing in front of judges, had never actually really settled with me. I've been so focused on the prep that the end result wasn't in the front of my mind. Like at all.

It was a good moment though. This challenge, this journey has never been about a stage and a bikini, it's been about the process and the challenge of it. It's been about testing myself physically and mentally. It's about picking a goal and sticking to it. Five months of intense training and strict eating guidelines, could I even do it??

I'm going to give myself a little pat on the back right now because I am doing it. I'm more than doing it I'm thriving in it and that's something I've never thought I'd be able to say.

I have truly enjoyed this process and learning about my body and what it's capable of. I'm not sure I would've been able to learn the same things if I hadn't decided to do this competition. The competition gave me a date to work towards, but in the end it taught me about a lifestyle and a new way to approach health and fitness. 

I've honestly gone back and forth about whether I'm actually going to step on stage, not because I don't think I'll be ready, but more because it's not really me. The posing, the stage, the bikini, that's not the part I've been excited about at all. But I keep going back to the fact, that it's one day and one more experience I'll have. I might totally hate it and that's OK. I also might love it and that's OK too. But it's a journey I started, I might as well finish it with the intended plan. 

So here's my progress at four weeks. I set PRs this week in my squats, got a little creative with my cooking, and met with a fabulous posing coach Geri to start figuring out what the heck I'm going to do when I'm actually on stage.


Thanks for all the love and support! I've realized what an isolating journey this can be and all of your encouraging words are so helpful and much needed.

"Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." - Joshua J. Marine.

Instagram(Inspirations).

I love Instagram. I'm on it all the time. Whether I'm shamelessly uploading gym selfies or browsing through posts at lunch, I love it all. What I love most about Instagram is the health and fitness community I've found. I often need an extra push to go to the gym, or a small reminder to stay on diet. That's what Instagram has been for me, an added tool to connect with like-minded people and stay on track!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite people/pages that I follow and you should follow too!


@katefit_

Meet Kate! She's wonderful. We connected back in the fall as we both went through the NASM training to be personal trainers simultaneously. Since then she has launched her own training business and website you can check out here! I really like her page because she posts quick workouts you can do at home, beginner yoga challenges and her adorable husky. 


@rawfigure

Meet Cathee! We actually met randomly at the gym (Equinox), I had seen her around for a few weeks and she absolutely crushes it. She's wonderful, extremely determined and traveled international to compete in figure competitions. It's great seeing her lovely, familiar face in the gym. I love her Instagram because her abs are insane (amazing motivation) and she often posts simple clean recipes that I love to help switch up my normal diet. She also introduced me to #BuffButter so God bless her for that! Check out her website here.


@emmakate_92

Meet Emma! I randomly found her but I really like her page because of her authenticity. She's currently in college studying accounting and training/prepping for NPC competitions. Knowing how hard it is to stay on track with a career, I can' imagine how much will power it must take to do it in college! She's so cute and not afraid to tell you about her crazy cravings and fights through them!! Plus I love all her Nike gear, duh. Her next show is in one week so good luck to you lady!!


@fitmissdani

Meet Dani! She's a college student at my alma mater, UNCW! She teaches several classes at the college gym (which I always thought was a cool job and wish I had done!). I love her page because like Emma, she does a great job of balancing the healthy life with the college life. My favorite though is she posts amazing and simple recipes that are so yum. Her sesame tofu recipe is bomb!


Then I of course wanted to share the pages of the girls on my Anthrofit Team! They are a constant source of support and inspiration!

@lorenpete1991 @ashley_hatcher @jcfitness4u @nicole_kulma @johnny_loreti


And don't forget to follow my page! @ebailey_fitness

Temptation.

I’m currently on the plane (ok this was four days ago, its been a busy week!) on the way back to Boston from a wonderful weekend away with my family in Wrightsville Beach (my first love). It was so wonderful having the four of us together for a long weekend, the more we grow up the harder it becomes. 

Last week having such a low really lit a fire under my butt. I have seven weeks left, and in the grand scheme of life that is nothing! I have to keep remembering that. I chose this. I dedicated myself to this. If I don’t give it my best, I’ll only let down myself. However, with that said, TEMPTATION was EVERYWHERE. We got a three bedroom oceanfront condo (instead of a hotel) so that I could have a full kitchen to cook. A HUGE thank you to my mom and dad for changing their plans to support me in this journey…but it wouldn’t be a family vacation with a test or two for me. So here we go:

  1. I flew down to Raleigh and got to spend the night with one of my best friends from college and we got a yummy vegan dinner (high on carbs but totally clean so I didn’t feel bad!).
  2. Wendy’s: My parents picked me up in the morning and we stopped and got lunch at Wendy’s. Shouldn’t be a huge shock that eating clean is just about impossible through fast food. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and ate just the patty with a side salad (no dressing).
  3. Oceanic: One of the yummy restaurants right on the ocean. It’s known for is southern spin on fish. They bring hot fresh hushpuppies to your table with fresh butter to start. Mom saved me and just ripped me off a bite of hers, YUM! I got a grilled salmon salad with citrus dressing (I should’ve taken more pics!).
  4. Mexican: Saturday night were the big basketball games and my Dad and sister are HUGE fans. The family ordered Mexican (my favorite) and I made my broccoli and grilled chicken. I did save a couple carbs and fats so I could have a chip of guac!
  5. Easter: Thank goodness the Easter bunny found us all the way down in Wrightsville Beach and brought us goodie bags filled with candy. I think the Easter bunny wanted to save a trip because he also brought one for my roommate and boyfriend so now I have THREE BAGS STUFFED WITH CANDY sitting at my feet and I’m dying to dig in. They even included the Reese shaped like eggs. Those are the best. This is my resisting. 7 weeks.

I have to say I couldn’t have stayed on track this weekend without a few things:

  • My supportive family: Yes they might have teased me some, but they made sure I had plenty of healthy food. As soon as we got to the beach my Dad jumped back in the car with me (after a 6 hour drive) to go to the grocery store and get food because I was starving after just two meals for the day. They even let me cook one of my go to dinners (grilled chicken, veg and brown rice) for dinner and loved my every day breakfasts of egg whites, Ezekiel toast and salsa. You guys are the best!
  • Natalie: She’s one of my very best friends and my complete inspiration to do this competition. I spoke about her in my first post. She drove two hours to some spend the afternoon with me, going through a glutes workout, and giving me endless tips for the journey. Honestly seeing her really helped me remember how driven and motivated she was (and is) and that I can do it too. She was impressed with how much I can lift (as I never lifted when we were in college together) and that was all the confidence I needed.
  • Froyo: I don’t know why I can’t find this in Boston, but Wilmington has a froyo place that carries Newberry froyo thats clean and only 8 CALORIES an oz. 8!!! It’s amazing. Just amazing. I went twice.
  • Ashley in her first comp: One of the girls Johnny also trains competed in her first competition this Saturday and ROCKED it!! She placed in three of her divisions and looked stunned. She even made her own suit. Like what?! Well done lady!

Such an awesome weekend. I’m really proud I stayed on track. I even packed a ziplock of grilled chicken and broccoli to snack on on the drive from Wilmington to Charlotte to fly back. I never in my life thought I’d be car snacking on broccoli. Who am I?! The purpose of this post was to share temptations and then share craving and how to get through it. So sorry for the monologue but let’s finish strong!

I was definitely hungry sometimes this weekend. It was an active weekend making sure I completed my workouts, long walks on the beach with mom, a couple beach runs, and beach volleyball! Things I needed to stay on track:

  • Crystal Light (sweetened with Truvia): First, beach water is gross. But second having my 24oz water bottle filled with watered down crystal light at all times helped me stay satisfied when I was hungry. Often times your body telling you your hungry is really just you dehydrated. I’m definitely not dehydrated because I can’t even sleep through the night anymore because I have to get up to pee. Twice. But, keep your water bottles filled and drink up!
  • Green Tea: I think I just get bored with water and then want a flavor, green tea helps.
  • Coffee: Hot. Cold. Blended. I don’t care I’ll take a large! Coffee is a god send for me. It filled me up or at least prolongs my hunger until I can get a good meal.
  • Apples: Yes they’ve got a few carbs, but they’re also delicious and crunchy and make me feel like I’m eating a lot!
  • Get up and go! Lots of times I think I’m hungry but I’m really just bored. The more active I am and busy my mind is the less I find myself wanting food. Talk a walk. Read a book. Take a nap. Who cares, just get out of the kitchen!

I won’t bore you anymore for now! Again, just a wonderful weekend and I’m ready to get back home (Boston) and see my love, train hard, and eat well. 

Do you all have any good craving curbers? I’m always looking for more! Any good clean recipes too are always helpful!

Thanks for the constant support, you all have been wonderful! Happy Easter!

…maybe just like one Reese egg? Is that Ok?! 

When it rains, it pours.

It was a really rainy week, figuratively and literally.

Ok. I'm not proud of everything I'm about to say, actually most of what I'm about to say. But this week I had the conversation to quit prepping for the bikini fitness competition too many times. It was all too much. My head wasn't in it. My heart wasn't in it. My stomach definitely wasn't in it. I had all but given up.

A couple weeks ago I started [two] new jobs. The past six months I've really been looking for a new challenge and thus had started to purse several different avenues to see what stuck. The problem was ironically, they all stuck. The fitness competition started as a way to give myself a new challenge and a new focus. I had time to learn about different workout techniques. I had time to meal prep and try new recipes. I had time to workout at lunch and made time to workout with my trainer. But two jobs later, I lost all of that time and something had to give.

I recently became a part-time trainer which was honestly my perfect scenario that I was thinking about when I was going through my NASM CPT training. I didn't want to be a full-time trainer, I wanted a marketing career in health/fitness and have a couple clients on the side. Turns out that sweet gig is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find. Until I found this position and got my couple clients on the side. But now those hours after work that I had for my training have become quite limited. That same week, I got my new job, which also happened to be my current "dream job." You never turn those opportunities down. 

So here we are. I just finished week one at my new job, which is going really well! I'm the new Social Media Manager at Withings, a connected health company based in Paris with our North American office in Cambridge. Like anything new, it shakes up your life a bit, shakes up your routine. My world was centralized in one area, my apartment, gym, and office were all within a mile of each other. I worked a very 9-5 job and my gym was literally next door. I had no excuses.

Now I walk 1.8 miles every day to/from work, in the opposite direction of my gym, and polar opposite direction of my trainer. My new office supplies snacks, which is so generous, but they aren't in my diet plan and end up as added temptation. So this week work wise was great! I am definitely working longer hours [I'm new, and social media never sleeps], but I really feel like I am doing what I want to do. But sometimes somethings gotta give...and this week it was my fitness competition.

I only had time to do two of my five workouts this week and only one of my two cardio days. And neither of those workouts felt good, nor satisfying. My body wasn't moving. My mind wasn't in it.

Then Wednesday we hosted an even at the Apple Store on Bolyston to train Apple employees on our new products and demo some for customers. The day at Apple ended up being from 1:30-8:00PM. I cracked. Halfway through I got a venti black tea [and a chocolate chip cookie] and after ended up ordering dinner [pizza]. Then Thursday it was supposed to by my workout with Johnny but late into the day I felt swamped and being new couldn't leave in time to meet him. So I cancelled my workout [again, SORRY Johnny!!!] and was later peer pressured into grabbing drinks with a few new coworkers. I cracked. I came home and thought I couldn't do it. It just [again] wasn't the right time.

I was wrong. It is the right time. It's exactly the right time. I was blessed before to have such a conducive schedule to work my fitness competition prepping around, but that's obviously not always going to be the case. This fitness comp was so black and white for me. I was all in or all out. Which is great, except that life isn't going to tee it up for me, I have to create the opportunity and stick to my commitments. I'm allowed to cave without failing. I'm allowed to have a crazy week, and do my best within it. They won't always be that crazy, I'm not here to quit.

I love to workout out. I love eating well and feeling those benefits. I love the community I've become a part of because of this fitness passion. But just because I love it, doesn't mean I'm going to feel that same love and passion everyday. This week I needed to be reminded of that, and most of all reminded of why I'm doing this. I need motivation too, I'm only human. 

Such truly perfect timing for my motivation occurred on Thursday. I was at Commonwealth with coworkers last night finishing my one beer getting pressured for the second and I get a Facebook message from a girl I went to college with. I girl I looked up to because she was on our collegiate tennis team at UNCW. I knew her through the tennis community, no one I was ever super close with but someone I really admired. She's got a killer backhand, and I had literally just seen that she finished a marathon this weekend before I got her message. She expressed how impressed she was with what I was doing and how I was inspiring people. I wrote back explaining the coincidental timing of her message and how much I needed it. She left me with this:

I have had a few weeks where it becomes more of a hassle to train then anything, but it definitely pays off!

We're all just human. We all need motivation, love and support. This is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Sometimes life tests you, and sometimes life wins. But it only made my mental game stronger. I just left the gym after a great cardio and leg session. My boyfriend and I have salmon and brussel sprouts in the oven and I'm back at it.

8 weeks baby. This week I thought I failed, but I think I just got stronger.

"Failure doesn't come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up."

Check-in: 9 Weeks Out!

Today I am officially 9 weeks out from my first bikini fitness competition. It's really exciting and mostly still scary but I'm feeling more and more ready everyday. I'm still on the 2100 calorie diet plan which has meant I've bene stuffing my face with carbs (good carbs though, not the delicious ones). It's tough eating 230grams of carbs a day! I'm at a midpoint right now in my training, but just about to start "cutting" for my diet. So below I wanted to include a beginning point for my measurements and body fat percentage, and of course a few pics!

Body Fat: 14.6%

BMI: 20

Measurements (in inches):

Arm: 9.5

Forearm: 9

Waist: 26.75

Abdominal: 28.5

Hip: 37

Thigh: 21.5

Calf: 14

 It was an arm day...

It was an arm day...

 and my triceps are definitely my weakest muscle....probably overall

and my triceps are definitely my weakest muscle....probably overall

 Wooo! Love seeing my back progress, you don't see your back often so it's always like a surprise when I see gains there!

Wooo! Love seeing my back progress, you don't see your back often so it's always like a surprise when I see gains there!

 Classic ab shot.

Classic ab shot.

So 9 weeks out, it's crunch time! I'm lucky that I naturally have a high metabolism thus I carry a lean frame. I haven't had to start "cutting" yet but that will start next week. No more sugar, dairy or alcohol. I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm doing this to challenge myself, to better myself.

These fabulous pants I got courtesy of Liquido Active :)

My Workouts with Johnny

My workouts are more fun than yours. 

I wanted to give you all an inside look at what a typical workout for me looks like. Johnny creates all my works (5 each week) and once a week we workout together. As I've mentioned before we typically train legs or glutes together as it's helpful to have him there to spot me and really push me. Lifting heavy can be scary. First and foremost form is so important because it can dangerous and easy to hurt yourself if you aren't careful. 

This has been a tough part of me. I've made great strides in my strength, and am really proud of how far I've come. I feel comfortable in the "boys" section of the gym and I love that. Even still I get nervous about lifting too much if I don't have someone there to spot me. I've had to learn to trust my body. Trust in the strength I've built. It's just as much a mental game as physical, something I didn't expect.

So for the workout, I'm still in the "Heavy" phase, meaning I'm back to working to build muscle. Workouts are centered around low repetitions and high weights. Below I've included all my statistics from Thursday nights leg day with Johnny and videos for you to follow along!

Legs: HEAVY

Warm-Up: 5 minute walk/jog

Barbell: Full Squats [4 sets, 4-5 reps each]

5x135lbs - 5x145lbs - 5x145lbs - 4x165lbs

Barbell: Reverse Lunges [3 sets, 10 reps]

10x75lbs - 10x75lbs - 10x75lbs

Barbell: Deadlifts [4 sets, 5-7 reps]

7x115lbs - 7x115lbs - 7x115lbs - 7x115lbs

Cable: Leg Curls [3 sets, 10 reps]

10x30lbs - 10x30lbs - 10x30lbs

Weighted Sled Push [3 sets x 10 reps]

**I don't know how much weight was on this...but it was really heavy.

Cable: Calf Raises [4 sets, 10 reps]

10x100lbs - 10x100lbs - 10x100lbs - 10x100lbs

Cool down: Make your coach work instead...

I love leg days! Partly because they are my strongest feature, so I enjoy pushing myself here and feel confident doing so. It's also great because I've found a coach that's awesome, and whom I look forward to seeing and working out with weekly. If you'd like to learn more about my workouts and what it's like to train with Johnny, contact him at johnny@anthrofittraining.com. Or check out his site at http://www.anthrofittraining.com.

Almost 9 weeks out!! Have other great exercises you like? Let me know! I always enjoy trying new moves. Have body parts you're having trouble hitting? Let me know and I'll post videos of those next!

"Cheat" Meals

I've had a lot of people reach out and ask me about "cheat" meals.

When do I get a "cheat" meal?

How much do I get to eat?

Is it just one meal or do I get a whole day?

I'm going to start and squash the entire term of a "cheat" meal. The term is quite commonly used and works for many, but I hate it. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, something I should feel guilty about. But when I eat egg whites, Ezekiel bread, protein powder, plain chicken, brown rice, broccoli, and sweet potatoes for dayssssssss I sure don't feel guilty about chowing down on huevos rancheros at brunch, or dipping extra bread in my mussels sauce, or splitting a whole bottle of wine!

I earned it!! I've worked hard. I feel strong and healthy. And I'm feeding my body and my soul a little extra ice cream this week. I don't go crazy because I'm still on a strict diet plan and my coach would kill me, but I'm not going to feel guilty about treating myself.

I'm not cheating, I'm just living.

My treat meals have become extra special now that I'm on my strict diet and can't eat a cookie whenever I want (I really miss those days). So I've been quite selective about what I'm going to splurge on. Last Friday was the night before I was 12 weeks out, so the girls and I had a night out!

 Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

We started with pizza and beer at Regina's. No better way to do it!! Then went out and met the rest of the ladies for champagne and finally ended at a local bar with a live band and some Sam Adams. A wonderful night of celebration and treating before the real grind begins. 

Plus Friday was a leg day for me, so really I needed the extra carbs.

My point is regardless of this journey I'm on, I'm not depriving myself of things i love.

Donuts. Wine. Ice Cream. 

So I'm including a few of my other favorite treat moments as well. I have a weak spot for donuts, so these gourmet donuts from The Kitchen were heaven paired with the last of our red wine (just glad Ryan shares that same love too!).

 It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was  insane!

It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was insane!

And finally...I live in the North End of Boston. It's also known as "little Italy" and is all too continent for a quick dinner out.

So back to the questions. It depends. It will always depend. So eat healthy, eat clean, and stop feeling guilty treating yourself. You aren't cheating, just treating. Think of it as food for the soul. 

"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorthy Day.

Progress.

I got the sweetest note a week ago from a girl I went to high school with. Partaking in her own fitness journey, she shared how much my Instagrams, Facebook posts and blog posts have inspired her. I can't even begin to share how much that meant to me! Such a sweet gesture completely made my day and that was the encouragement I needed to not get a cookie from my favorite food truck "Cookie Monstah" parked outside my building today. Thanks Brittany, you rock!!

It made me want to share a little more about where I started. I've learned A LOT in this past year about health and fitness and where I want to be in the space, but it wasn't always like that, I didn't even have a gym membership for a while.

I grew up playing tennis, that was my thing. My sister and I would go to tennis summer camps and I imagined us being just like Venus and Serena Williams! My AIM screen name in middle school was eWimbledon19 ... because I wanted to compete in the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament by the time I turned 19. Big dreams I had. There was no way that was happening, but regardless tennis was my sport. I played soccer as well but that didn't last once I got to high school. My coaches kept telling me I need to be more aggressive but contact just really isn't my thing. So I picked up track instead. I ran the 400m for a couple years (hated it, longest sprint ever) and ended up becoming a jumper. Long jump and triple jump were my specialties. It was fun being part of a big team, staying in shape, and working on my agility...all for tennis season in the fall.

When I got to college I still stayed part of the tennis community, playing club tennis, working at the local country club teaching kiddie lessons, and helping out with the varsity kidding summer camps. Then I studied abroad where a two mile run twice a week was considered decent exercise, and pastries were a daily must, I was thanking the lord for my good genes. I wasn't immune to gaining weight but my metabolism kept me slim and able to fit into my jeans. I just had no muscle definition. I didn't feel strong or healthy and at that point I didn't really care. It was good enough. I went to the gym some but I was a classic 30 minutes on the elliptical, a few ab exercises and I was out of there. The gym seemed like a scary place. There was the boys section full of heavy weights, and the girls section with cardio machines and kettle bells. It was just the way it worked and I wasn't about to be one of the girls trying to figure their way out in the boys sections. But those girls, that could hold their own and throw around a little weight, they were always impressive to me. One day maybe I'd be like that too.

So then I graduated, spent that summer in Wilmington, waking up before work for a beach run and quick dip in the ocean and head into the office. Come September when I moved to Boston I continued to run, it allowed me to explore a brand new city. Running helped me make Boston my own. I loved it, before work, during lunch or after, it was my adventure and my escape. I didn't need a gym. But I loved trying all the new studios around Boston for their free passes, FlyWheel, Btone, PureBarre, Barry's Bootcamp, The Club, I tried them all. Come January it was far too cold and snowy to run outside anymore and I settled on a neighborhood gym, Beacon Hill Athletic Club. That's when I started lift more, learning how to lift weights and use body weight as my resistance. Take that for a about a year, some bootcamp sessions in the summer I led, and then I met Johnny and here I am. 

Fitness has always been a part of my life, but it hasn't always been my passion. I'm still learning, I learn something new every day. I ask questions, probably lots of dumb ones. I read articles, Greatist is my go-to. Fitness has been a constant in my life and has become my passion, but I wanted to enforce that it wasn't always the case. I still need motivation to go to the gym, I still need reminders to not get pumpkin bread at Starbucks or order a full bottle of wine at dinner. But I still do all of those things. I still find excuses to go to dinner and order mussels (my favorite) so I can take the table bread and dip in the yummy sauces. I still have late night cravings for sleeves of cookie dough and will run across the street to Salem Market to fulfill them. I'm not superhuman. I'm just trying my best.

I was hesitant to share some progress pictures but I think it also adds an element of authenticity to the journey. So here we go. The picture on the left was taken a little over a year ago, when I was in my running only phase. Lean, yes but not strong. The picture on the right is last weeks progress pic for competition prep, 15 weeks out.

*excuse the mess please!

Ok, the two pictures shock me. But the one thing that has been really helpful is to take pictures along the way to see your progress and how my training is developing. Based on these pictures a few things jumped out at me that I wanted to share, including:

  1. I actually weigh less in the photo on the right than I do on the left. The left photo I was sitting at a 140 lbs. and the photo on the right I'm at 131 lbs.
  2. I wear the same size clothes in both photos, I don't actually look that "big" in real life. For one reason I'm obviously flexing and secondly after you workout your muscles have swelled creating the bigger appearance and more definition. (I was actually kinda scared of this picture when I first took it!). I'm stronger, I've gained definition, but I haven't gain (much) size.
  3. I spend less time actually working out now than I did in my cardio (I still do cardio, not totally cutting that out!) phase. Yes, some of my workouts do take some time, up to an hour and fifteen minutes maximum, but before I used to feel like I had to spend hours on a cardio machine or and hour or two running outside to see results. I focus on five days a week when before I felt like I needed to do all seven.

I wanted to share these photographs not only because I am proud of my progress so far, but because I wanted to debunk a few myths as well! I have a whole post on that coming up soon so please email or post below any questions or comments you have about workouts or training, I'll be featuring the top questions asked! ebaileyfitness@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Part 2: The Workouts.

My body is hurting as I'm writing this, I had a leg day with Johnny last night and ouch. I started by hitting some PR's on my squats and was fighting through finishing the rest of the workout. My body felt like jello. It was one of those days my meals didn't totally line up, and I was extra hungry which made me feel sluggish by workout time. Those days will happen. But then you wake up the next morning and as you get out of bed the soreness sets in and it weirdly feel like a sense of accomplishment. 

Like yeah, I did do work last night and my body hates me and thanks me for it!

So soreness, I'll take.  I'm currently in a hypertrophy phase of my training which means I'm going for high volume workouts (sets x reps x weight).  I focus on 5-7 exercises, 2-3 sets each, and 12-15 repetitions. I have five workouts a week including: legs, glutes (favorite), arms - pull, arms - push (least favorite), and plyometrics (beginning to love it, probably because its become my Friday lunch without with coworker and friend Julie). Each workout starts with a 5-10 minute jog to get my heart rate and body temperature up and ends with some serious foam rolling. I do one workout a week with Johnny, usually a legs or glutes day because I feel safer lifting those heavier weights with someone stronger than me making sure I won't hurt myself while still pushing me. He uses an app/website called Trainerize, which allows him to give me my workouts and then I can just login and track them as I go. It's awesome.

As much as I enjoy the workouts he gives me, I still like changing it up.One of my new years resolutions was to practice yoga weekly, which hasn't exactly happened but I have gone some! It then reminds me how tight my body is, so I love going into those classes ready to stretch and move my body at a slower pace and focus on how it moves. I also used to be an avid runner (Boston winters now make that impossible for me) but I intend to run more than a mile once this snow begins to melt. 

It's amazing seeing my body change already, and realizing that all the hard work and sacrifices I've already made to stay on track are actually working. Today my body feels tired, but that's just so that tomorrow it will be even stronger than before. It's all part of the journey.

My Workout Goals:

  1. Be able to do a pull-up, unassisted
  2. Practice yoga weekly
  3. Get a six (or four) pack
  4. Stretch/foam roll daily
  5. Learn to listen to my body, push myself when I feel strong and rest when my body needs the recovery

It's a journey, I'm just learning as I go.

 

"Great changes may not happen right away, but with effort even the difficult may become easy."

Part 1: The Diet.

When I was first thinking about doing a competition I kept looking for articles or blogs written by people who were going through the process. I wanted an inside look at what it was really like, not just pictures of the end result. That's what I want this to be, a window into the journey. My goal is for this blog to be that resource for you and hopefully help as some framework, discussing various components I'm juggling and how I'm handling (or struggling) with them. So to start the competition prep is comprised of two main parts, diet and exercise, and diet was the biggest question mark for me.

Part 1: Diet.

This is often the scariest part for people, which I completely understand (and it's honestly still scary to me). It takes time, thought, and some serious self control. But it's very doable, trust me. My diet plan started the beginning of January (convenient timing to be able to enjoy the holidays fully!) and has since slightly changed week by week. My trainer Johnny, helps with both my diet and workouts which makes life much easier. He creates a targeted meal plan for me each week and that's what I follow and can then plan my meals accordingly. As a whole the plan consists of five meals ranging from 250-400 calories each, hitting different macros (carbs, proteins, fats) at each meal.

I honestly really struggled with this the first couple weeks. Like I mentioned before, I've always eaten pretty healthy but never had to think about how many carbs I was having at breakfast, and wondering if I had fit in enough protein by dinner or make sure I planned my meals at convenient intervals so I was full all day. It's a lot to think about! MyFitnessPal definitely helped, it allowed me to enter my meals and track my numbers throughout the day. It's really just developing a plan, setting aside an afternoon to meal prep (my Sunday's), and then you're set for the week! I cook my breakfasts, lunches and most dinners for the week and can just heat them up when I'm hungry and it's impossible not to eat well (OK not totally impossible, but definitely helps!). Don't give yourself excuses!!

This week I'm at 2100 calories** which means extra carbs for me! I'm currently looking to intake 243 grams of carbs, 151 grams of protein, and 58 grams of fat each day for this week. That is one thing I really like about this diet plan, there's no crash dieting, or crazy supplements suggested. The point is just to "eat clean" which includes lean meats, unlimited amounts of greens, and whole grains. No one is limiting my coffee intake so I'm happy. I'm also a solid 16 weeks out so I still can drink wine and can incorporate "cheat meals" (which I will definitely be sharing...I take those seriously and I'm talking to you Regina's Pizzeria!).

I wanted to share just a few examples of some of my meals, they aren't super exciting and I'm almost already sick of chicken but a good base to start with!

A standard day for me looks kinda like this:

Breakfast 8AM

  • 3-4 egg whites (with salsa!)
  • 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast (I'm currently really into the cinnamon raisin)
  • LARGE coffee with almond milk

Snack 1, 10:30AM

  • Banana
  • or Ezekiel toast (again, it's really yum)
  • ...usually a second coffee

Lunch 1PM

  • 4 oz. grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli (or any other veg) 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

Snack 2, 4PM (pre-workout)

  • Quest bar
  • or Ezekiel bread (with peanut butter)

Dinner 7:30PM (post-workout)

  • Broiled salmon (Whole foods has awesome fillets that are already seasoned!)
  • LOTS of veg (peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, you name it, I eat it!)

Dessert 9PM (my favorite part)

  • Casein protein shake (with almond milk, PB2, cinnamon and ice)...honestly it's a milkshake and I love it
  • or cottage cheese with blueberries (this usually feels more filling so if I'm still hungry or have already had a protein shake I usually opt for this)
  • *For dessert it's great to have a slow acting protein incorporated like casein so that it can fuel you all night and won't break down your muscles while you sleep...or so you don't wake up STARVING!

This is just what a typical week day looks for me, I get more adventurous on the weekend because I have more time to cook and try different recipes. Not as scary as you thought right?! This plan works for me, and helps me feel full, satisfied and energetic, ready to get after a workout at the gym!

I'd love to hear your thoughts or if you have any other recipes or ideas for me! 

 

**This is a targeted meal plan created specifically for me and my individual needs. This plan may not be right for you so please consult a professional before beginning any new diet plan.