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Lessons Learned: 3rd Week of NPC Bikini Prep DONE!

Happy (Almost) Tuesday!
I can’t believe my third week of competition prep is nearly complete (I’ll be traveling home tomorrow so this post comes to you one day early!). It seems as though as each day passes, it feels more like “second nature” to be schlepping my meals around and busting my butt in the gym for hours a day – although work travel has thrown a bit of a wrench in my prep. 

This past Saturday was my first posing practice with Coach Steve – and I must say, it was AWESOME! Not only was it amazing to meet so many guys and girls with the same goals/passions as me, but it was so fun getting up on stage and practicing my posing routines. Being my first time, I was terrified! There were about 10 competitors from each category – Men’s Physique, Women’s Figure and Women’s Bikini. It was neat seeing us all on stage – the men were completely shredded, although Men’s physique is actually not a bodybuilding contest, so the men are just the right amount of muscular (they’ll actually be marked down if they’re too big). I happened to be lined up next to them on stage and got quite the view 🙂 When the guy standing next to me hit his back pose and fanned out his lats, I nearly lost my balance and fell over (true story)!! For those curious, here is what a Men’s Physique competitor looks like:

Tell me you wouldn’t lose your balance either…
Next up was Women’s Figure. This category is pretty amazing to me – these women are muscular and pose in ways to emphasize their mass, but do not have visibly fibrous muscles like female body builders. They were all beautiful and it was obvious they worked hard for their shapes! Here is what a typical Women’s Figure Competitor looks like:

Finally, my division!! Women’s Bikini Competitors are toned, but shouldn’t have much visible muscle mass. We tend to be smaller in stature and are trying to showcase a toned, balanced and proportioned physique. Stage presence for our category is vital – so I will most definitely be practicing my stage personality! In my opinion, we get to have a little more fun on stage – and are encouraged to smile big and engage the judges. Like I said, this was my very first time posing (on a stage or ANYWHERE) and it was slightly intimidating sharing the stage with shredded dudes (I kept catching Captain Lats staring which completely threw me off my game) and women who were so close to their own shows (and hence VERY lean) but all in all, I was really happy with my first go at it and Coach Steve had nothing but compliments afterwards! For my stage presentation, I’ll be called out and asked to hit a front pose where you place a hand on your left hip, shoot your hips and glutes back as far as you can, and twist your torso in a way that showcases your waistline. Believe it or not, my back hurt days later from this – you’d be amazed how much it hurts to stand with your butt out for an hour! From the front pose, I’ll do a quarter turn and hit a side pose followed by a back pose and back around again. We’re called out individually and as a group. The whole idea, as Coach Steve says it, is to own the stage and be confident. Like I always say – it’s me vs. me. Here is what Women’s Bikini Competitors look like:

When I came home from posing Saturday, I couldn’t stop posing in the mirror!! Because everyone keeps asking when I’ll start posting progress pictures AND because I think it’s hilarious I was practicing in Loubs, here is a picture of my trying to hit my shots. Again, my first day at this AND I’m still in my “lean bulk”… so I have a ways to go! However, my size 4 jeans are falling off, my waist is already coming in at 25 inches and my legs are building muscle AND leaning out. For only prepping three weeks (I have about 16 weeks to go!), my progress is tracking very well according to Coach Steve.


Workouts
#JugLife

My workouts this past week were ass-kickingly awesome. I felt strong each day and pushed myself to keep hitting PRs on everything from legs to shoulders. I’m still struggling with triceps – I just feel weak!! BUT on a brighter note, I am back to doing pull-ups (wide and close grip) which I haven’t done in a year, so I’m a happy camper. Oh, and I’ve officially become the douche that walks around the gym with a gallon water jug. #sorrynotsorry

Nutrition 
I had my cheat meal Friday!! Hindsight is 20/20, and I probably shouldn’t have had it the night before I had to stand on stage with professionals…. But YOLO!!! I went to a new Mexican spot here in Atlanta called Superica and OMG. We started with skinny margs and chips with two types of salsa. After that, I ordered steak fajitas and they were mouth watering. For the first time in a LONG time, I sat in total silence and appreciated each bite. I’m not allowed any red meat on prep so enjoying medium rare steak satisfied my inner carnivore FO SHO. I had to take a good break before ordering my second marg – holy cheap date!! It’s funny how abstaining from booze and eating so cleanly for only a few weeks really lowers your tolerance. I ordered a second marg and couldn’t even finish half my meal. It really amazes me how large restaurant portions are. On prep, I get 3oz of protein per meal. This entree must’ve had four times that. I skipped the tortillas and cheese and ate the steak off the plate – so all considered, my “cheat” wasn’t so bad after all. We brought it outside and savored each and every bite – I even got some toppings I normally would feel too guilty for, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and cookie dough. I may have wanted to open my pants in the car ride home, but it was delicious and I regret NOTHING. 

Beyond my cheat meal, my diet has been completely on point this week. I still haven’t slipped once. Saturday night I went to a comedy show and for coffee beforehand, since I can’t drink. I brought my dinner in tupperware and watched my friend eat a piece of cake and stayed strong! 
Proof!
Sunday I headed to Chicago for work and made sure to pack pre-portioned nuts, protein powder, tuna, and packed my scale so I can weigh everything on my trip. My coaches gave me a list of tips for traveling while on prep and while it’s not sexy to be cooking chicken and sweet potatoes in my hotel room microwave, nothing is going to stand in my way. 

Mental State
All things considered, I feel good. Each morning I wake up and look in the mirror with pride. I put on a pair of jeans for the first time since starting prep and even buttoned, they wouldn’t stay up. I tried putting on a belt – and even at the tightest notch, the belt was too big! Seeing such amazing changes in my physique is so encouraging, but I’ll be honest and say there are moments I get frustrated and just want to eat like a normal human being. My co-worker ate a huge cookie in front of me today and I nearly became unglued. Speaking of – while waiting on stage the other day, a fellow competitor shared with me a story about how she felt so guilty for screaming at her boyfriend when he came home with Five Guys the other day. Sadly, that made me feel good because 1) Finally there is a positive to being single – no one to bring home yummy smelling burgers! and 2) Well, let’s face it. Misery loves company. HA! I’ve also been feeling extremely lethargic the past few days. My workouts are so intense from Tuesday – Saturday, come my rest days (Sun and Mon) I am BEAT. Like 8pm bedtime beat. So, in the moments where I just want a cookie or a glass of wine, I get discouraged and question why I’m doing this to myself. And then I read one of the amazing texts or listen to one of the sweet voicemails I receive from all of you and pull myself back together. 

I must say – I have been completely overjoyed with the responses I’ve received from all of you over the past three weeks. Competition prep is far from easy BUT knowing I am making friends and family (and myself!) proud and am inspiring even one person to join a gym or change their diet brings such fulfillment to my heart I can’t even tell you. So for all of you who are following my journey, reaching out, and/or keeping me in your thoughts – THANK YOU. 

From the bottom of my heart. It means more to me than you know.
XO,
Jenn

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