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Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Tag Archives: fit chicks

No matter the task you’re taking on, there will be challenges of varying levels. This is a given, nothing is easy. When I started my weightloss journey, I didn’t have a support system or any one person who had verbalized that they believed in me. It was clear to me that to be successful, this had to be about me, for me, and I had to believe that I could accomplish the goals I was creating for myself.

Let me say, that this journey should be about you anyway. It shouldn’t be about getting someone to notice you. It should be about your health, how you feel about yourself and you should be slightly selfish in your goals. No one will make you successful, but they can help support you and give you tools that will lead to success when combined with hard work.

The simple definition of a support system from Merriam-Webster is:

 A group of people who someone help, encouragement, etc.

A more complex definition is:

A network of people that provide an individual with practical and emotional support.

As my journey has evolved and my goals have become more complex, I’ve learned that I can’t do this on my own. It took a lot for me to admit it, but while I had been flexible dieting and macro counting for over a year, I knew I need more guidance when it came to determining when and how to adjust my nutrition. I also had hit a wall in my lifting. I felt great about my lifts, but as far as configuring optimal workouts, I didn’t feel confident that I would have much success.

It’s okay to ask for help

I’ve talked about working with a trainer on my instagram page. We started working together in October and not only has my body changed, but mentally I feel like I’m in a really great place. Working with her has been a partnership. She listens when I say there’s something wrong, like the time I had a tendon rolling over in my wrist and it hurt to curl or the time I had lactic acid build up in my shoulder and it was preventing maximum mobility. She adjusted my workouts while I worked with my chiropractor to fix the physical issues.

When it comes to eating, as long as it fits it gets eaten. This creates balance because ice cream doesn’t always fit, but it also means I don’t need to overload on the veggies either – I learned this hard way. This means that she lets me experiment in the kitchen as long as I’m hitting my macro nutrient goals. Bring on yogurt bowls and vegan stuffed brownies!

*side note – according to the latest nutritional report from the CDC the average American only need 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed – I was consuming way too much for the amount of food I was eating and it was causing some digestive issues.

She does more than just design my workouts and adjust my macros based on my progress. She’s there when I have questions or concerns about my progress. She’s reminded me to trust the process and to not freak out – or at least minimize the freaking out during prep. She is the professional that I hired to keep me on track, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to turn to my friends too.

You learn who supports you at your craziest

Throughout this journey I’ve learned who is here for me and who isn’t. Those who are here for me have been willing to listen and learn about why I’m competing or why I’ve lost as much weight as I have. Those who weren’t truly supportive, well, they’re no longer in the picture and it’s not my loss.

My friends have been extremely important in this process. Educating them can be fun and it can be a pain in the ass. The fun part is when they’re willing to experiment with food with you – thanks Jessica for enduring my burrito bowls, protein pancakes and scale portioned meals. The pain in the ass part is when they forget that you’re in dry prep – yeah JP, no bourbon. Or when they don’t realize that brunching in town may kill all your food for the day – looking at you again babe. But the fun part again, is when they tell you that they don’t get it, but they’re proud of you because they know it’s important to you – oh those college friends of mine.

It’s also ok if you don’t have friends physically close to you that don’t understand what you’re doing and why. This isn’t just about my journey, but all journey’s. Because of the stereotypes out there about weightlifting, some of your friends may try to tell you to not try hitting the weight room. Because of other myths about nutrition, some may tell you that you can only clean eat or only calorie count to lose weight. The truth is we are all different and we need to try different methods. For some it’s seeing or doing it that confirms if it’s the right step for them.

I tried macro counting with a clean eating focus during my last prep – by the end I wanted all the limited edition Oreos, that’s when I decided to just macro count and try to make good decisions. I’m down almost 36 pounds from macro counting: the first 24 from clean eating, then I gained 10 pounds back post-show when I wasn’t clean eating or tracking as carefully, then lost 22 with 100% flexibility. I had to learn that it’s ok to stare at the Oreo’s and eat them in moderation. But I wouldn’t have tried being 100% flexible if it hadn’t been for some of the lovely friends I had made on social media.

My friends mostly live in my phone

While I agree, there are aspects of social media that are damaging the new and even some of the older generations, I also believe there’s a lot of good coming from it. For me, it has been about connecting to like-minded people with similar goals and dreams, but maybe different methods. I met Sarah, you probably know her as @fit_badger15, in September 2014, but we started texting and sending each other care packages in December 2014. It’s been over a year since that started. Every month we send the craziest things from protein bars and hot cocoa to t-shirts and mugs. We’ve exchanged Christmas gifts and she sent me goodies from her trip in Ecuador. I also send her postcards while I travel for work. It was Sarah who introduced me to the Bikini Body Guide, or BBG. It’s circuit style training and at the time I needed something new – it was pre-Alaina and post-1st bikini competition. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted and with her assistance, I dove into BBG and got to my lightest weight at the time 149 in June 2015.

I met Tresa or @not_a_runner in the summer of 2015 and I met her as she was determined to be a powerlifter. Now she’s not so sure, but she knows she loves lifting and that her health is equally as important as her strength. Similar to Sarah, Tresa and I send each other care packages and text more often than I do with friends I’ve known longer. She’s helped me get comfortable with lifting, but also push myself to lift heavier and be confident that I can finish a set. Because of her my squat max increased 25 pounds throughout the fall before I started prep.

The other day on instagram I had posted about the army of people behind me, most of which I have never actually met in person. Maybe I log on too much, but sometimes I need a little reassurance – I believe we all need reassurance sometimes. We need someone there who will believe in us when we don’t. People, who will equally tell you to act like an adult, put on your big girl pants and get your shit together, while in the same breathe tell you it’s okay to feel like crap every now and then.

The support system, whether made up of people you see every day or people you can only “pen pal” with, is important for success. The journey needs to be about you, but it needs to somehow encompass people who can help push you when you want to stand still and help give you the confidence you need when all you want to do is sit on the floor and eat peanut butter. My hard work has gotten me this far, but it’s been paired with someone else’s guidance the past few months and support that I have found in the most unlikely of places.

❤ Cristina

 

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/eef/66154586/files/2015/01/img_3372.jpgBefore we begin with my check-in. Let’s take a look at a quick comparison. To the right are two photos. The left is me in June 2014, when I started my first prep for first show in November 2014. The photo on the right is the 7th day of my second round of prep for my upcoming shows this spring. This is a 15 pound difference in my starting weight.

I’m feeling really confident this round for sure. I lost 25 pounds the first time I prepped, and then gained about 10 pounds post show (thank you holiday cookies!) While I had been eating in moderation, I wasn’t paying attention to my macros and was definitely eating over my nutritional goals.

Below is a photo from day 7 workout. Seriously, I’m really excited with where I’m starting with this time. I’m focusing a lot on my weight lifting, and trying to minimize my cardio to strictly HIIT sessions. I’m going to be doing more double days like I did last prep. This helped me fit in my workouts without feeling like I wasn’t effectively using my time. Tomorrow is a good example, I’m doing HIIT in the morning before work and then lifting legs tomorrow night.

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I’m 13 days into this prep and I’m down 3 pounds of the 10 gained post show. Not too shabby. I’ve already discussed with myself (because I do that) weighing only on Wednesdays like I did last prep. This gives me consistency without over checking. It also gives me a goal to look forward to.

I’m hoping to lost another 22 pounds on top of the 3 I’ve lost for another 25 pound loss, which will be a 105 pound total loss. Crazy, I know.

I’ve been taking pictures like a looney, but I love the comparisons of how I’ve come. It reminds me that even on bad days, I’m still  far ahead of where I was. How may people can say they were a 24 and are now a size 6? I have 101 days to go and I can’t wait to share this part of my journey with you all.

Well I’m heading to bed. It’s 0 degrees outside, but it feels like -22, when I wake up for the gym it’ll be -7 with a windchill of -29. Hello winter! I hope you all stay bundled up!

❤ Cristina


When I decided I wanted to start lifting and prepping for a bikini competition I had no idea where to start. There’s so much information out there about what to eat and how to train; everyone had a different opinion. I think we all can agree that different opinions are good because it shows us many perspectives, but it also reminds us that what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another.

I had been told to get a coach, so I looked into it. It was not something I could afford and it wasn’t something I was willing to stretch myself for. So I started researching.

My biggest research tools for exercises was bodybuilding.com. This helped me discover new exercises that I never would’ve thought of; it also helped me learn correct form so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I researched HIIT and Tabata and found some pre-made workouts- these were great and over time I was able to change them up with exercises I thought would be effective for my goals.

When I started looking into a diet to follow it was clear that I had to go all in, I couldn’t just do something for the summer, this was going to be a lifestyle change. Throughout my journey I had been adjusting my workouts and my food to meet new goals so another adjustment was just part of the plan. I had been clean eating before I started prepping so when I learned about IIFYM, I figured I macro counting would be a breeze and I could be more flexible with my food.

I have fallen in love with IIFYM and while my relationship with food isn’t perfect, I have a much better relationship now. I know that you need fat to burn fat. Protein will help rebuild your muscles that your smashed in the gym and carbohydrates are an important sources of fuel. The body is like a machine, without fuel the machine shuts down. With IIFYM, I learned to focus on nutrition versus calories. While weightoss is all about calories out verses calories in, all macronutrients have calories; as long as I hit my nutritional needs, I will have enough energy for the day. Eating in a deficit still provides me enough food to meet my nutritional goals and have energy.

I learned what water could actually do for me and what hydration means for the body’s development.

Even though I didn’t have a coach, I had a few people who helped me along the way that I believe played a huge role in my success. My friend Monolina, @monolina12 on IG, worked out with me a few times a week. Together we figured out workouts, corrected each others form and pushed each other to lift heavier than we ever thought we could. This gave us both something to look forward to at the end of the work day, and hitting new PRs together helped us bond. We get the funniest looks in the gym!

Laurie, @tinygymrat on IG, helped me figure out how to adjust my macros for cutting throughout the process, she also introduced me to drop sets and super-setting. Both of those things helped me discover how much physical strength I had and push myself harder than I had been.

Brittany, @brittbaine on IG, and I met when I decided to give Beachbody a try… yeah, that didn’t go so well for me, but we’ve maintained our friendship. She has definitely helped me stay on track and stay realistic in my goals and what I can accomplish. When I have doubted myself, she has been blunt and told me to stop thinking that way. She has never once told me that I can’t do something or that my dreams can’t become reality. This is what a friend is.

When I got closer to the competition, I started meeting other women I would be competing with in the New England Championships. Sam, @baconbarbellsbikinis on IG, helped me figure out how to find my flair for posing. I had mostly gotten over the idea of not being the smallest girl in a bikini, but I was fearful of eating the stage. This girl helped with that a ton, probably more than she realizes.

By not having a coach, I had to do the research, I had to ask others questions. I discovered what worked for me, what didn’t work and how hard I was willing to push myself. I found out how strong I was, both mentally and physically. I was doing this for myself, which is how it should be, but I was doing it because I wanted to meet my goals; not because someone was telling me how to meet them.

I’m not saying that coaches aren’t good, there are a lot of things I would’ve loved having a coach for like posing or peak week; but having to do the research myself made me even more invested in this part of my journey. I don’t think I would have changed anything, maybe what I brought for footwear post-show 😉

I got my official stage shots and I’m pretty excited them. I also have some shots of my journey for this first competition because there will be more. Check them out below. And know that if you work hard anything can happen.

 

❤ Cristina

Day 5 out of show

 

NEC 1

NEC 2

NEC 3