keep calm and give thanks

Thanksgiving in exactly one more day… so exciting! I have a few recipes I’ll be making this week (and they all incorporate my favorite fall foods); sweet potato casserole, pumpkin trifle and the cranberry almond quinoa. For my sanity, I’m just gonna give in to the fact that I will be stuffing my face with naughty yummy foods this entire week; I have friendsgiving event today (Wednesday), thanksgiving with the fam on Thursday, date night with Dave on Friday, and high school reunion on Saturday. This just means I’ll have to be on my A-game for all of December {well, up until christmas}.

wicked smaht
Last week I had to go to NY for training. On my way there, we had to wait about 20 minutes on the runway due to some inexplicable air “traffic” issues. Why in the world there’s traffic in the air is beyond me but we did get a gorgeous skyline view of Boston. I’m a huge city girl and although I don’t live and breathe the city life I like that I’m so close to it. I’m not in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of being in the city but I live close enough that I can still enjoy all it has to offer. I don’t have to contemplate whether or not its worth heading into the city because it’s literally 10 minutes away!
Boston
I heart you Boston.

kenne cooks a special dinner
If there’s one thing you should know about the bestie Kenne is that she loves shrimp. She’s semi obsessed with it, there’s probably 3 bags of shrimp in the freezer at this very moment and they’re are all hers. She cooks with if often and during my bikini prep I witness and smelled [#nocaloriesinsmelling #dontjudgeme] her delicious cooking. She promised me (or more like I demanded) that she make it for me after the competition was over. This is what she made for me, coconut shrimp and tilapia with wild/brown rice. It came out so good! Now I just need to have her cook for me again… do I need to do another competition? cause I’ll do it! ok, I’m kidding… well maybe.

ShrimpTilapiaDinner

instant transformation
How about that for a transformation? Sometimes even I amaze myself… from work to gym clothes in a jiffy. Sneakers are on and hair is pulled up, it’s time to get swole! ok, but seriously now that I’m working from home I don’t have to worry about carrying a gym bag so this doesn’t happen as often. There were so many times I forgot to bring a hair tie, or my socks, or even worse my sports bra!

WorkToGym_JPG

you can do anything in 12 weeks

“your hobby list is exploding”
Apparently I have too many hobbies (according to Dave) but this time I’ll blame it on my friend Arlenis. She recently posted about having registered for Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. The idea to run it with her got implanted in my head and grew uncontrollably {am I really contemplating this?}. The ironic thing is that I don’t like running, I’m not a runner and I’ll never claim to be one. However! there’s something about it that intrigued me; I like the challenge of having (and completing) fitness related goals. I looked into a typical training schedule and found out it basically consist of 4 short runs and one long run every week for 12 weeks. Twelve weeks huh? what a familiar number… apparently you can do anything in 12 weeks (that’s also the “cookie cutter” training schedule for a bikini competition prep). This starts with about 10-15 miles a week and slowly increases. I was running about 21 miles for the bikini comp and although the approach was different (intervals on a treadmill) it seemed doable.

So that was the reasoning behind the decision. Decision?… yes, I officially registered to run a half-marathon…gulp [#damnyouarlenis #lordhelpme #howmanymilesisthatagain]. Kenne (the bestie and the runner) heeeelp!
nike womens half marathon

pumpkin pb&j
I was craving a PB&J earlier this week so I decided to use one of my pumpkin doughnuts and since I’m pumpkin obsessed, I decided to use a my pumpkin spiced peanut butter (from Nuts N More) with sugar-free strawberry preserves (from Polaner) to make this little bundle of deliciousness.
pumpkin pb and jelly

oatmeal suicide
My container of oatmeal fell from the counter top and this is how it landed… {ugh!}. But oatmeal, I love youuu!
OatmealSuicide

oh my quad!
I want to build up my leg muscles so I’ll be switching things up a little bit on leg days. I usually put on enough weights to do about 10-15 reps (to reach failure) but I’m going to start increasing the weights to lower the reps to stay within the 6-8 rep range. I’ll be tracking my progress….let’s see where I end up in a couple of months. Here we go!
LegPress

almost show time

I thought it would be good to recap my activities leading up to tomorrow’s show; I had quite a few things going on. Work was relatively chill this week, I had a few things I had to get done but overall stress free; I took Thursday and Friday (today) off from work so I can run my errands for the show. Last Sunday, I did a photo shoot, I had a mid-term on Monday (I think it went well), I went to my BodPod appointment on Thursday, and got my tanning done today.

because the glass really is half full
After months of training, I think it’s safe to say that I’m currently in “the best shape of my life” {apologies for the cliché} soooo I decided to do a fitness inspired photo shoot to celebrate it {you know, just in case I need proof}. I really just wanted to do it to serve as a point-in-reference of this time in my life. I have a lot of positive things going on; I’m healthy, I have a great support system with my friends and family, I have an amazing boyfriend and things are smooth sailing for both work and school (getting my MBA). I have nothing to complain about – the glass really is half full.

I decided to do my shoot with Katie from kdPhotographyBoston; she was great! We first took some shoots at a yoga studio and then went to the nearby shore line for some outside shots. It was beautiful out and I wasn’t really planning on incorporating the outdoors into my shoot but I’m glad we did (Katie suggested it). Below are some sneak peaks that she posted on her Facebook page, I’m excited to see how the rest come out.

View Photo Shoot

when is enough enough?
So just a little background information on my training: I have a 3 day split for strength training and I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) 6 times a week so that pretty much means I go to the gym six times a week {I’m so good at math – Dave would be proud}. This also means I’m a gym “regular” {that sounds… weird}, needless to say, the gym staff know me. Last week as I was entering the gym one of the trainers stops me and asks me how much longer will I be doing this for {ummm, excuse me?}, he proceeds to tell me that I’ve been doing a good job at losing weight and getting toned {oh, well thank you} but, and I quote, “when is enough enough?” {huh?}. At this point all I could do was laugh, what do I say to that? I mentioned that I was training for something (although I never specified) and yes, it does require me to train 6 times a week so chances are you’ve seen me a lot. The conversation continues for a little bit longer, he even offered to give me information about becoming a trainer {no, thank you}. At this point, all I wanted to do was end the conversation so I could get my pump on. After a couple of days, I find myself still being annoyed at his comment. Even after this competition I plan to continue to train; when I decided to prioritize fitness into my life I did it for me, the decision to compete was only after I incorporated healthy eating habits and committed myself to the gym.

i’m ready
As I sit here with my icky {and very dark} tan I reflect on the journey that has brought me here. One of things that surprised me the most about embarking in this process is the level of commitment I gave it. Let me tell you that by no means was this easy. In retrospect, the hard part was not the 6x a week workouts, it was  everything else… it was hard to say no to free drinks and yummy sliders at work related networking events and skipping on beautifully seasoned steak with baked sweet potatoes at Dave’s family dinner {I demand a re-do!} – it was these tough times that truly tested my commitment. I also abstained from alcohol {this really isn’t as hard as you think} – in fact I still have a bottle of wine that I bought from my trip to Spain back in March! Getting back on a balanced healthy eating routine is what I’m most looking forward to. That excitement manifested itself in the creation of this blog – I have so many ideas and recipes I want to try that I wanted a venue in which to share. Back to the topic at hand, everything is packed: teeny weeny bikini check, stripper heels check, obnoxious rhinestone jewelry check, fatty treats [#icantwait #youshouldbejelly #getinmybelly] check, happiness and excitement… umm ok, yes… check. Ok, looks like I’m ready.

the beginning of the end

well well well… look at what we have here, my very first post! this is kinda fun, I get to share my life with you {and you shall listen!…err read? ok, just kidding} so yeah let’s get started!

It’s only fitting that the beginning of this blog overlaps with the final stages of my bikini comp prep, one more week to be exact! {but who’s counting?} I’m working on getting all the things I need organized including a photo shoot, bod pod testing, and of course the actual competition day (all things I intend to write about – don’t you worry). I just got some instructions to increase my cardio and begin a water depletion plan. I won’t get into specifics but I’ll just note that there’s nothing “healthy” (or better yet sustainable) about the final weeks of a prep but since it’s for a limited time frame it’s doable with no harm done. Dave (the bf) asked me if I’m excited and at the moment, I don’t really have any emotions in regards to it; I have a set of things I have to get done and I’m just kinda doing it. Ironically enough I’ve been more excited about setting up this blog.

chicken and greens
Doesn’t sound so good, does it? My food options these past couple of weeks have been extra restrictive so needless to say I’m not a very happy girl. Oh and this came just as I got a stomach ulcer {greaaat}. I think I’m all better now though, symptoms have subsided {yaaaaay}. It’s actually not so bad, for protein I get to eat chicken or tilapia and two of my meals include carbs which can be either oatmeal, brown rice, or quinoa. hmmm… now that I think about it maybe it is that bad. eh, just one more week, then I can start implementing a more balanced diet {I can’t wait!}. Oh, and I’ve also unofficially named November my restaurant month where I’ll will plan to go to different restaurants for my Saturday dinners {aka date nights with Dave – he’s a big fan of the idea}.

chicken and greens

water buffalo
Prior to starting the water depletion plan I had to water load; I need to make sure I’m consuming at least a gallon of water a day. This is a lot harder than you think, it’s almost a little painful. Having to drink water when you are not thirsty is depressing and going to the bathroom every 30 minutes is annoying. I have a gallon I keep with me that I use to refill my water bottle, this is my gallon next to a small {and cute} bottle I bought months ago [#howcute #whydidievenbuythat #atleastitsrecyclable]. Right now I’m on-point – I have finished the gallon every day for the last several days.

gallon

cravings
I’ve seriously had the worst cravings lately. I decided to make a peanut butter chocolate brownie trifle (in addition to another baked good which will remain a secret!) for my post-comp treat. The only problem is that, that has turned into hours looking up recipes and guess what? the recipes are all the same but for some reason I keep doing it {and torturing myself!}. The other day I went to Target to literally *look* at the different ingredients I would need. I went to the baking aisle and omg they have so many options for the brownie mix, like seriously why so many options!? {you’re killing me here!}

brownie mix

It was torturous and completely self-inflicted… ugh {pull yourself together Bermary!}, soon enough.