The Show. (Part 1)

The countdown is over, the show happened, and my tummy hurts. I did it. I competed in a bikini fitness competition, the Jay Cutler Classic here in Boston on Saturday. I don't even know where to start!

So peak week, the week leading up to the competition was one of the funnest parts. The diet was changing every few hours, I was in constant contact with my coach to manipulate water intake and food plans depending on how my body was reacting. It was so cool. Workouts were limited and the week was all about preparing for Saturday. Hair appointments, nail appointments, 7-Eleven runs (to get candy for the big day!) and grocery shopping to prepare my meals for Saturday which consisted of:

  • 2oz chicken and white rice
  • rice cakes
  • blueberry jam
  • peanut butter
  • bananas
  • Detour bar
  • Reese
  • Pretzel M&Ms
  • Twix bars
  • Wine :)

Then came Saturday. I was 126 lbs. and 10% body fat. I had hit my goals, I was ready. My water levels were depleted, I had two coats of tan on and I headed to the John Hancock Theatre to check in. I was immediately overwhelmed. I've never seen so many orange people with big hair and big muscles. I felt totally out of my element. Then I found one of my teammates, Zhubin, who was also competing in his first show, and Jen, another teammate, and the day got better!

The thing about shows is it's really a waiting game. I got there at 8:15AM and didn't step on stage until 5PM. Needless to say we had time on time to kill. Jen and I were backstage together all day and we had and awesome time! She did my makeup, we practiced posing, checked in with our coach Johnny every two hours so he could tell us what to eat next and the excitement built! Right before we went on my boyfriend Ryan showed up with BEAUTIFUL flowers, funny signs, and much needed wine to calm our nerves :) Jen and I ran backstage, chugged our mini wine bottles (first drinks for us in MONTHS) snagged our favorite candies and headed to line up. We "pumped Up' with resistance bands so my baby arms and shoulders could be seen on stage and waited. We ended up waiting for a while before we got on stage. I was in two classes, Novice D (the tall girls) and Open F (the really tall girls). Jen and I were both in Novice D so it was fun to be on stage together. 

The first time we walk on stage you hit all your poses, front, side, back, front and a wave. I walked on stage and I honestly have no idea what I did. It's like I blacked out. I got so nervous. So many lights. So many people! So many judges. For each class everyone walks out alone and does their poses, then the groups are split in two for comparisons where you're all lined up together and the judges tell you what pose to hit. Then everyone is put on the edge of the stage and calls outs happen. You want to be in the first call outs (those are the best) I was in the first-ish...the called our 5 girls, sent 3 away and then called 3 more, basically trying to figure out the 5th place (top 5 get trophies).

The second time on stage I felt much better and more confident. I knew what to expect. The nerves were gone.

After pre-judging they have a break and then finals. At finals everyone gets introduced and walks on stage and they call the first 5 places. By the time we went on stage for finals it was 10:30PM and we were tired and mostly just over it. So we did our final walk, met up with our team and celebrated an awesome day, and our huge accomplishments. We might have walked away without trophies but that wasn't the point. It was a huge show, with stiff competition, and I felt so proud of the journey I had taken and the progress I made. That's what it was about. I just felt great.

We took the party to Precinct and I got my beer (YUM) and sliders and fries. It ended up to be a pretty awesome day.

After a couple days of reflecting, I'm not sure I'll ever do another show. But I didn't completely hate it as much as I thought. It gave me a goal to work towards and dedicate myself to. I'm really looking forward to enjoying my summer without measuring food and feeling guilty about cookies and cold beer. Maybe come fall I'll be looking for that challenge again or maybe I'll have found a new one. But I'm so grateful I did it. I'm so proud of myself for doing it.

Results: I ended up coming in 8th out of 19 in Novice (my goal was to be in the top half) and 6th in my Open class, just one place away from a trophy. So I'm happy :)

Stay tuned for Thank You's, updates, and my food splurges :)

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

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 :)