Let's Talk About Food.

Um now I know why diets don't work. The amount of food I ate after my show is unreal. It has taken me the past two weeks to finally level out. For about a week I ate anything and everything I could just because I hadn't had it for at least 3 months. It was pathetic. And ironic considering the entire point of my prep was to demonstrate self discipline and then as soon as it was over I had NONE! But I loved all of it.

Let's take it back a night, Ryan and I had to prepare for the big feast ahead (Ryan got a head start as I raided the candy isle)...

The night of the show we went out to Precinct (Jen also brought us post-show donuts) and I had an Alagash which is what I had been CRAVING like crazy. Plus I had sliders including pork belly, lobster and crab cakes. YUM! Then Ryan had stock up on all my favorite things including carrot cake, coffee cake, half baked ice cream, guac, wine and beer. It was heavenly.

The next morning I had my Dad's famous cookies for breakfast because ya know...why not :) Then I took Ryan to the Four Season buffet brunch to thank him for being so supportive throughout the whole journey. We ate the place clean. Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, oats, poached eggs, waffles, caramelized bananas, omelettes, meat and cheese plates, then desserts GALORE!!

That afternoon we recuperated from stuffing our faces... then went to dinner at the Salty Pig and had garlic knots, meatballs, and PIZZA!

The next day we walked around Boston and ended up stopping by Anna's Taqueria which is Ryan's all time favorite meal. It was my first time there so we split a MASSIVE quesadilla...

Then hung around all afternoon drinking Rosé until we headed to Barcelona for white wine and tapas. (I also finished the carrot cake and a second pint of half baked this night...it wasn't pretty).

Coach Johnny sent me a reverse diet plan on Monday which I loosely followed. It's basically used to help rebuild your metabolism so you don't eat everything in sight like I did and gain 6 pounds immediately.

I don't even feel bad about it though. It has been really nice not feeling guilty about ordering Indian food when I don't want to cook, or be able to say YES to unlimited sushi night with friends and always order a glass of white wine with dinner. 

I'm back tracking my food, just good to be slightly aware of what I'm eating but I'm enjoying my ice cream nights all the same! I've even started to throw in a little morning cardio a few times a week just because I actually like starting my day like that now. It's amazing what you find out you like doing when it's not something you have to do...or eat. Like egg whites, I still start my days with egg whites and salsa. Just because I like them.

It does feel weird not to have my next goal set up. So any ideas please let me know!

8 Days.

Happy Friday world! I woke up jumping out of bed this morning. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and I had energy to get after my fasted cardio. This week (2 weeks out) has been a really important week of my prep, it's the last big push before the show. In addition to my normal five workouts, I have three days of cardio and four mornings of fasted cardio.

Fasted cardio = my personal hell.

I've mentioned before that I don't like morning workouts, and morning workouts where I have to keep my heart rate high for 30 minutes when my body is sore all over from yesterday's workout and on no food...the worst. However, fasted cardio is really effective for me. Jump starts my metabolism in the morning and I feel it burning all day. And today it wasn't so bad! I've been feeling minor shin splints this week so instead of my usual run I did some HIIT in Copley Square instead. Then ya know what happened? These babies were poppin!

For a good reason. In addition to the extra workouts I've had this week, my diet has also changed. All week I'm slowly depleting carbs (as Johnny tells me to), every two days the diet changes. I'm hovering around 1200 calories, with my protein intake remaining high and as my carbs are cut my fat intake raises (YAY peanut butter!). 

I had to go two days this week without peanut butter and I honestly think it was the first time in YEARS I hadn't had it. Thank goodness that's over.

Basically I'm tricking my body to burn all of the existing fat to use for energy opposed to the carbs I'd be feeding it. Then early next week (peak week!) I'll get a MAJOR re-feed day where I eat a ton of carbs (clean carbs) for my muscles to fill out again. They're working in overdrive this week so we gotta keep them happy before the big day.

So I'll leave ya with highs and lows for the week:

Highs:

  • ABS!
  • I have a whole new love for food since I've been so hungry this week.
  • Matcha. My afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Everything Hoodie Allen.
  • Low energy but high spirits!

Lows:

  • Fasted cardio. Ew.
  • I skipped fasted cardio yesterday. I was a little disappointed in myself but my body was telling me no.
  • No posing practice yet. I need to learn how to walk on stage now. Crunch time people!
  • My hands are torn up from my arms/back days. Ouch!
  • Low energy levels, but big spirits!

Huge final shout out to my boyfriend who has saved me this week. I forgot my lunches at home one day (grabbed the wrong tupperware) and he drove them to me at work. LIFE SAVER!!! Second shout out to my parents who have given me some great pep talks supporting from afar! Then finally my coworkers...sorry you have to sit with HANGRY Erin all day, but keeping me away from the unlimited kid cereal and M&M's is crucial. Couldn't do this without you guys. 

A final BIG THANK YOU to all the social media love. This is honestly one of the toughest things I've done and the messages, texts, Instagram likes and comments truly mean the world to me. When I need extra motivation, that's what keeps me going. Thank you.

"People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do something difficult." - John Porter.


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.

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

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!