Great Twitter Row Race: Week One

MPC_RowRaceThe wall is in your head.

Surely you’ve said it before during physical challenges, “I hit the wall!”

Today was the first 2000m component of the Great Twitter Row Race for My Peak Challenge prep program 2016. Kim has a bye today because she’s doing the Princess Half Marathon at Disney this weekend, lucky duck.

On Tuesday she beat my 1000m time by a full 54 seconds. I knew that I was going to win by default today, but that didn’t seem to do much to ease my mind. I went in thinking “Kim is going to win anyway, so I’ll just do what I can.” This is backwards positivity. Yes, I can only work within my own limits but I basically started today’s challenge having already given up.

For the majority of the 2000m I was able to keep pace with my time from Tuesday, but suddenly just before the 1500m mark…I hit the wall.

The wall feels physical – a sudden onset of extreme fatigue, muscle pain, laboured breathing, energy running on absolute fumes. For me, my only hope of pushing through hinges on what is happening in my head. Today, my mind was working against me. When that moment came I thought, “I can’t” and it was my kryptonite.

I watched as 38 strokes/min dropped to 20, my estimated 10:05 finish time jumped to 10:30, 10:40, 11:00 and continued to climb – I completely gave up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, only something to improve from.

2016-02-18 18.50.48

Final time: 11:30 (Yikes!)

I kept saying to myself, “If this was a powerlifting competition, I would own this!” – but it’s not. It’s The Great Twitter Row Race. The whole point is about taking the absolute weakest part of my overall fitness and pushing myself past my comfort zone to improve it and doing it with my friend Kim, who not only challenges me but encourages me.

I can, and I will. I may not be the fastest, but I’ll still be there at the finish.

The one about the show…

The time has finally come. Tomorrow is the big day!

I am full of anticipation, waiting to see my beautiful Team Fit Starts Here teammates hit the stage at the WBFF Nova Scotia Championships tomorrow morning. Even though I’m not competing I still feel like I’ve come on this journey with them, listening to their stories, reading hilarious texts about the less than desirable body changes that come along with the positive ones and feeling like even though I’m not going to be standing up there next to them that I am still part of the team.

I won’t lie and say I didn’t deal with some jealousy woes shortly after my decision to not compete. I am only human. At this point though, I don’t feel anything but elation. I’m not their coach and they did all the work but I still feel an unusual sense of pride when I see how far they’ve all come these past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because I know how hard they’ve worked and I know there’s been struggles along the way and I know, at times, they were punching well above their weight (at this point, you can take that quite literally – tiny waists everywhere!)

Without a doubt I know that I’ve met some of the women that I’m going to be friends with for many years to come through this process and, while I know that web will only grow larger over time, there will always be something special about the originals.

With that, I want to wish Abbie, Jenna, Jill, Jade, Cora, Lindsay and Stephany the best of luck tomorrow. (I know it’s bad to wish good luck but saying break a leg seems just as risky when you consider how many pairs of six-inch stripper heels are involved.) You all look beautiful and although only one person can win the trophy, you’ve all won the first stage of the contest – getting up there. Good job. <3

Q&A with WBFF competitor Jade Martin…

This is the first in a series of posts that will profile the members of Team Fit Starts Here as they come into the final weeks before the WBFF Nova Scotia on May 25th. This group of amazing women have been working their butts off (literally) under the guidance of coach, team-sanity-keeper and WBFF Bikini Pro, Krissy Adams-Schofield.

First up is Jade Martin!

Read the article in PDF format or read on in text format (which is not nearly as exciting :P) …

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The one where reality bites…

I haven’t blogged much lately, sorry about that. I’ve been working pretty hard though, spending a lot of time training, posing, eating and training some more. I’ve been struggling with a cold the last week-and-a-half but despite that I have been having some amazing workouts and really felt as though I was starting to see significant differences in my physique.

It’s hard to look at yourself and remember how you got to where you are. A lot of my focus has been on where I need to be and I forgot about the places I had to go to get here. I took the opportunity to remind myself of just how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come the other day when I put these photos side-by-side:

Progress

I’ve worked really hard to get from the picture on the left to the picture on the right and when I was putting that little collage together I thought wow, I can do this, nothing is going to stand in my way. Life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls when you least expect them, though.

I went to work on Wednesday and found out I no longer have a job due to restructuring. At first I thought it’s fine, I’ll just have a bunch of free time to spend at the gym, I’m going to be in awesome shape for my show in just six short weeks. Then the harsh reality set in and I realized that despite my free time, I am now without an income. Fitness is an expensive hobby and competing is not a small investment. I have been saving money for a year just for this show and I had a little bit put away to pay for things like my bikini, evening gown, registration fees, posing classes, hair/makeup, etc but that money now needs to go to things like food, rent, bills and getting my life back on track.

I made a tough decision yesterday that I won’t be stepping on stage next month. My priorities have to change. It doesn’t mean I never will. Heck, who knows, maybe I’ll be in a better position to do a show later this year – anything could happen. I’m still going to be at the WBFF Atlantic Championships on May 25th, cheering on every single beautiful lady from my Fit Starts Here team who I am happy to call my friends and fitfam. I can’t wait to watch you all compete. Look out though, next year I’ll be coming for ya… 😛

I need to thank all the people who have supported me up until this point. Please don’t stop because I’m probably going to need you now more than ever. I’m going to use this time as I reorganize my world to keep eating clean, keep training and come out of this a better me than I was when I went into it. I guess I just wasn’t ready to stop calling myself Fatty quite yet… <3

The one about the numbers…

I’ve mentioned on this blog countless times that a lot of what happens when you walk into the gym is not mental, but rather psychological. It’s all a game of numbers and how your mind interprets them.

For example, my workout this morning was triple sets (three exercises done in succession followed by a break). I do six sets of 15 reps per exercise.

You might think that the first set is the easiest and the last the hardest. After all, that would be reasonable given the physical demand on your body. It’s not really the case though. At least, not for me.

Set one: the ‘oh-this-might-actually-be-hard’ set. You feel fresh going into it but your muscles don’t really know what to expect and you quickly realize that things will not be as fun as you had originally expected.

Set two: the ‘I-can-do-this’ set. Now your muscles are warmed up after the first set and you know what to expect so the second set is often one of the easier ones. You’re getting into the swing of it now and feeling pretty strong.

Set three: the ‘this-is-getting-hard’ set, also known as the ‘am-I-really-only-half-way?’ set. Mentally, the third set is my most challenging. At this point it’s starting to get physically tasking, your muscles are getting tired and, even though you know you have to push past the discomfort, it’s damn HARD. At the same time you’re doing the mental math and realizing that after this set there’s still three more JUST LIKE IT still to come.

Set four: the ‘only-two-more-after-this’ set. The third set is out of the way and now the finish line is within view. You’re tired but you have a sudden motivation to power through and get the job done.

Set five: the ‘am-I-done-yet’ set. You used up way too much motivation on set four, now you’re just exhausted. There’s only one more set after this one though so you might as well just get it done.

Set six: the ‘is-that-all?’ set, otherwise known as the ‘I-could-do-another’ set. The sixth set often times feels very similar to the second set. The boost of adrenaline that comes with knowing that you’re almost done, coupled with the fact that you probably didn’t give it 110% in set five, comes with enough power to destroy the final set – like a boss. This set is usually accompanied by overconfidence, luring you into thinking that you could do a seventh set if you wanted to. You can’t though. Really. Just don’t try it. It’s painful.

Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from the numbers game is that we all feel really uncomfortable at times but it’s about pushing past the mental discomfort to find the spot where you start to feel like you’re in total control. In other words, don’t let set three break you because set six feels awesome.

The one about carbs and the countdown…

There are a few choice phrases that I have thrown around a couple of times a week for the past month or so:

“Ugh, I feel awful.”

“I have zero energy.”

“I need a nap.”

“I want to eat all of the things.”

One thing all those phrases have in common? High-carb day.

Wait, what?! HIGH carb day?!

Typically, those would be the sentiments of fitness competitors in the midst of cutting back on their carbohydrates, longingly watching as their precious oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice are diminished by yet another 1/4 cup.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past couple of months is that I am a person that functions better on very few carbs. This wasn’t a complete surprise to me, to be honest.

Years ago (high school-era) I had a lot of issues with allergies. I was checked over by an allergist who found that I have a slew of environmental allergies but although digestion issues continued to plague me, I was not having an allergic reaction to any foods so we couldn’t quite pinpoint what the issue was.

Based on the recommendation of the allergist, my parents then took me to a Naturopath to test for sensitivities that a traditional scratch test wouldn’t pick up. The process was somewhat tedious – beginning with an elimination diet that left me restricted to mostly rice and oranges for weeks.

Both my parents have severe food allergies (citrus fruits on one side, shellfish on the other) but the more common foods were quickly ruled out. Through the process of eating different things and monitoring my reaction to them the Naturopath determined that one of the major foods that I am sensitive to is yeast.

For years I experienced extreme lethargy, low energy and difficulty concentrating through the day. As it turned out, the culprit was bread (I wasn’t much of a beer drinker as a teen :P). Cutting foods with yeast out of my diet was life-changing. My head was suddenly less cloudy, my grades improved and I finished my last year of high school with honours for the first time since I started. All because I stopped having toast, sandwiches, pizza, etc.

Other foods that I am sensitive to include apples, olives (I have a reputation in my family for always throwing up after holiday dinners – olives, we later discovered, were behind it), lactose and most forms of alcohol. Removing these elements from my diet was somewhat easy and once they were gone I was amazed by how much better I felt. In some ways, I hadn’t even realized I didn’t feel well until I felt better.

That is the same experience I’m having with carbs right now. My previous meal plans have always included the brown rice, quinoas and sweet potatoes of the world and I always assumed that the way I felt after I ate them was just the way I was supposed to feel -I was just digesting, it was from my intense amount of training or even all in my head. I wasn’t losing weight or body fat, I felt bloated and too-full all the time and above all, I felt HUNGRY. Ravenously hungry. All the time. That lead to the half dozen times (which I’ve mentioned on here) that I found myself “off the wagon” and shoving my face full of whatever I could find.

Since the end of January my meal plan has changed and my only carbs are a 1/4 cup of oats right after my morning workout. I never realized how terrible I felt before until now because I feel great. I won’t deny craving junk food, or even having had slip ups out of boredom and over-accessibility, but my physical cravings are non-existent. I don’t spend all day thinking about eating, I’m satiated until my next meal.

Leg days are supposed to be my “high-carb” days where I incorporate those foods back into my diet and if I were to make a confession… I’ve only actually had one in four weeks. I feel like crap every time so I’d just rather not. I guess that makes me one of the few people that will happily clean their plate of vegetables and meat then ask if someone wants their potatoes.

Ultimately it comes down to how I feel – if I don’t feel good then I’m not going to do it. It’s a pretty simple way of looking at most “diets” that are marketed these days. If they make you feel bad then stop doing it. Just don’t take that advice when you’re in the gym, otherwise no one would ever do another burpie ever again… 😛

PS: Tomorrow marks 13 weeks until I hit the WBFF stage and I still have a lot of improvements left to make. Here’s hoping that being the anti-carb ends up being the best thing my stomach ever decided for me.

The one where fatty had a birthday…

I can’t believe I forgot about the blog’s birthday! Shame on me.

New Years resolutions aren’t really my thing (I don’t feel compelled to wait for a certain date to set a goal) but in 2011 I decided that I was going to start up a blog and write about the things that interest me the most – fitness, nutrition, health, bodybuilding and my personal journey from keen observer to active participant.

I feel like I’ve come a long way since this blog started. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my personal life and just as many changes in my “fitness life”. As far as body composition, I’m actually not too far off from where I was last year but I have learned more than I ever expected I would. I’m so much more knowledgeable about my own health, the way I eat, the things I do when I walk into the gym. I feel stronger and more empowered overall. I also made a tough decision last year to switch trainers. I left a trainer that I had been with since I was 21 years old, which wasn’t easy. I miss seeing Cathy but I have loved my experience with Krissy so far and can see sticking with her for a long time to come (so long as she’ll have me.)

Time for a little reflection…

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The one in 2013…


It’s January! It only took me three weeks to blog about it! I blame my hectic schedule for my sporadic blogging. It’s pretty easy to lay the blame elsewhere because my daytimer isn’t here to defend itself.

After a December-to-remember as far as falling off and climbing back onto the wagon on a near weekly basis, I somehow managed to get through the holidays having lost both weight, inches and body fat.

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