…from the opportunity it created for me to trust someone else’s guidance.

I think many of us can agree that we are skeptical of advice at times and if we haven’t done the research ourselves we can be hesitant to follow through or listen fully. I started working with Alaina Sanders in October 2015 knowing that I was going to want to participate in the NPC during the 2016 spring season. I wanted to get a feel for her workouts, her structure and her decision making process when it comes to long-distance clients. Online coaching had always made me giggle and I really didn’t know what to expect.

At this point in my journey I had been researching everything on my own. Asking questions on social media and basically experimenting to see what would work and what didn’t work. The body is truly a big science experiment and every body is different. We react to fat differently, carbs differently and we all need different levels of nutrition to achieve our unique goals.

I had researched coaches and I wasn’t impressed with what I had found. Competing is tough and you need someone who knows what they’re doing to guide you, they also need to have your best interests at heart. I’ve said it in other posts, but I knew Alaina would have my best interest at heart because of her personal story and struggles. I knew that she would understand my concerns with eating disorders and that she would take my voice into consideration when deciding the path we would take from the fall into the winter and into prep.

I’m her first competition prep client, but she has been a trainer for others. I wasn’t nervous about working with someone who was slightly new to competition prep because I figured I would learn and grow with her. I believe I did just that and I think she did too.

My first refeed was a few weeks into prep and as someone who had been losing weight for many years the idea of purposely consuming more than necessary, even for a short period of time terrified me. So I asked questions: what are the results you hope I will have from a refeed? What is its purpose? I also told her I was nervous about it because it was completely new. After talking with her, I did my own research – you can find those articles in the Educate Yourself tab. So with what I now knew about refeeds, I thought about the macros I was given for the day. I planned brunch that I shared with a friend – we had cinnamon raisin French toast – it was completely worth it. I planned veggies and meat and finished with some tasty dessert. The few days following we tracked my progress and how I was holding water by weighing in. What we learned is that I hold water for about two days and then I regulate and drop weight by the third or fourth day post-refeed. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I freaked out the day after the refeed. I had to remind myself that carbs help the body retain water and this is how the process works.

After a slight freak out and then getting over it, we had two more refeeds throughout my prep. Both I carefully planned and then sent to Alaina for suggestions. She never told me what to eat, but she made suggestions or helped me adjust for fiber or sodium. We also carb cycled at the beginning of my peak week. I had no fear this time around. I knew that I was in good hands and that the results from the last refeeds were on track.

Everyone says trust the process – essentially trust the science behind nutrition and exercise, but no one ever says take a leap of faith and trust the person who is helping guide you through the process. Alaina has answered all of my questions, she has helped me decide menu options when I travel and she’s helped me figure out rough estimates for macros when I’m in situations where I’m eating out. She has taken most of the stress off my plate and helped me see competing in a different way. For me, it’s about learning about your body and seeing how it can adapt to change. It’s about being fearless when trying new methods or incorporating concepts that have potential to vary in results. Putting my faith in someone else is hard and trusting they will get me ever I want to go makes me nervous. It’s okay to be scared and nervous, but it’s not okay to let that hold you back when you acknowledge that your own knowledge can only take you so far.

Yes, I beat my old self.

Yes, I got on a stage that many won’t consider.

Yes, I increased weights in the gym and this excited me the most, aside from my body physically changing.

More importantly I trusted the person who designed the process I was going to follow. I tried new things and learned what works for me specifically and what we need to tweak the next time.  She helped make me successful this prep. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve been as successful. Continuing to work with her will only help me see the potential I can truly achieve. Reverse dieting, lifting heavier, eating more and going into another competition are some things I’m looking forward to experiencing with her.

❤ Cristina

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