Inspiring, Entertaining and Informative Writings of a Cinzia Massaro Clapp, IFBB Pro, Trainer, Coach, Business Woman, Mother & Wife.

Bummed About My Placing?

Patience is the virtue of those who are strong!

Just last week I was training with my son and my coach and husband Shawn as usual when my son out of the blue asked, "Mom, can I ask you a question? I have been wanting to ask you, how do you feel about placing 11th in your last competition?" It was one of my first workouts after returning to our studio from competing in the 2013 IFBB Mile High in Denver, Colorado. My son Sean was there watching the whole event and, at the end, he made a point of telling me his critical view about the event. He didn't agree with my placing after all. I love how he demonstrates his interest in what we do, training together and traveling everywhere in the country to competitions. I love his criticism. He tells me I should have placed higher, 7th or 8th at least! I answered him without hesitation. To me, at this point in my career, there is no difference between placing 7th or 11th! "Not much difference, baby!", I told my son.

Let me explain as I explained to my son. My goal is to make an impression by bringing an indisputably aesthetic physique to the stage that the judges will recognize and reward with an Olympia qualification. Neither 7th nor 11th are placings that will allow me to qualify for the Olympia. But is this, after all, such a negative thing? Until the day I qualify, with the support of my coach an my son, along with the system we, as a family, have built, I will continue to improve, build and mold my physique one rep at the time, contest after contest.

My better body and stronger mind will ultimately be my trophy and, when the day I will be seen on stage worthy of that higher qualifying place will come, it will be so much more meaningful to me than if it arrived any time sooner! It is the difficulty in the task that makes the accomplishment so sweet! Yes, sweet! The lack of simple sugars in my diet has inspired my choice of adjective! LOL. So not a bad thing after all to not yet place as high! ;-)

I experienced first hand how incredibly sweet the moment can be when I accomplished my goal of obtaining IFBB professional status. What a night that was! I will never forget! All at once that night, that moment on stage when they announced my placing, memories came flooding back of all it took to get there! Just like during my journey for my pro card, I will be working my hardest to qualify for the Olympia. That is the way it should be! A few hours ago I landed in New Orleans and, with three more days left until I compete in the 2013 IFBB Greater Gulf, I feel yet again improved from my last appearance three weeks ago at the Mile High and that is what it is all about!

This, in the Big Easy, will be my third time competing this year so far. Each time I competed this year I came in a little better, a little stronger mentally and physically and reminded each time more of how much patience place a role in our sport. I have been sharing thoughts with my coach lately and we both see it so clearly! From his words, "You can't rush an aesthetic physique!" Many times since December I had to be reminded to be patient. As simplistic as it may sound as an answer, sometimes when we struggle and wonder why we don't see it, the answer is, give it time!! Yes, keep doing what gives you results and keep doing it over and over again. You will get there! Be patient and believe it will continue to work until your eyes will see it! Then, when you are there and able to see it, what a sweet moment that is!

"You can't rush an aesthetic physique" 

So, It may take months or years but it is the way to the aesthetic physique that I want and that I will be proud of. So going back to my son's questions, I don't compete for the placings! I compete for my personal growth and the joy of motivating others in their pursuit of their own aesthetic physique, representing the many women who have what it takes and just need a little encouragement! :-)

 

Titans to Titans

8 Weeks Out from IFBB PRO Europa Show of Champions February 25th, 2013 

Sitting down enjoying my cup of coffee before I start my morning sprints.  After my calf injury two weeks ago, yesterday, I was finally able to train legs again!  Yeah!  Smile I was a little concerned about how my calf would handle it.  After completing each exercise, I felt so blessed to be able to perform it!  I feel sometimes injuries are like wake up calls from God to test us, to remind us of our blessings in our lives, to appreciate our selves, our family, our friends, no matter how hard things are and how imperfect people can be, we are gifted with so much love and strength, at times we tend to forget and to look at the whole picture around us and our lives.

 

Yesterday was assessment day.  I feel really good about where I am with my body fat percentage this far our from competing. Much better than where I was this far out last time I competed last October at the Titans.  Things are looking pretty good thus far!   Legs are tightening up along with lower abs and glutes.  Another two weeks and I will start showing more cuts in my quads, hamstrings and glutes wich will make practicing posing more fun and rewarding!  

images/blog/flyer-milehighIFBB13thumb.jpg

I better get started with my cardio now, but before I do, I wanted to share what is in store for me after the Europa.  I am already setting my focus on the second stop-over for this season, the IFBB Mile High Pro Women's Physique Championships in Denver, Colorado.  I am excited to see how my performance will be second time around.  Each time I compete I learn a little more about my self, my body and how to be balanced.  There is so much to say about personal experience and what it teaches you.  This year I look forward to bringing a better package on stage after each competition.  Starting with the Titans last year, it will be my goal to improve each time.  

From Titans to Titans - My 2013 Journey!  Smile 

 

 

Grin & Bear It!

Prepping for the 2013 IFBB Europa Show of Champions.

Time for a little update you guys!  

Got some good news yesterday from my friend, long-time client and one of my biggest supporters, John Riblett!  He will be the proud sponsor of my 2013 competition season by taking care of my airfare expenses as well as those of my coach/hubby Shawn!  John has a good heart!  My journey this year will be dedicated to him, giving back to him through pushing him even further than he pushes himself, to achieve the best for himself in his fitness journey.  I love training him, especially on leg days!  He is an animal!  Hahaha!  Go John!  Vegas Baby!  Yes because, let's not forget, my goal this year is to work toward that qualification for the Olympia which is held in Las Vegas for those who may not know.  

On a not so positive note, I hurt my calf today while doing sprints.  It happened when I was five sprints into it.  Couldn't keep sprinting, but I wasn't going to give up!  I had to grin and bear it! Sealed

I tried a whole bunch different ways of walking, but none made the pain go away until I turned around and bang!  I could keep going!   I finished walking my remaining 35 minutes of cardio backwards at 15% incline with a speed of 2.5 mph.  That was fun!  Not really!  My quads were buuuurning baby!   

Grin and bear it!

Icing and not standing as much as I can between workouts and clients for today!  

Headed for my shoulders and triceps workout in a few.  I better make up for the lack of sprints this morning with some extra intensity during my workout today!    Will make it happen! Smile

Love your Life!  ~Cinzia 

There's Always a Good Alternative

Not much fun when I am sick and for sure it is hard to stay on track with my good eating habits and meal plan. At times I’m not hungry and I feel nauseous, at times I feel not in control, other times I feel hungry for carbs and carbs only and I am attracted to comfort food.

This weekend I have a horrible toothache to blame. It has been so hard to eat as I can hardly open my mouth as swollen as it is and I can't bite as my gums are incredibly swollen.


A portrait of me by my son.  Not sure I want to share a photo of me like this!  LOL

In the state I am in, I could easily convince myself that I deserve pretty much everything, like ice cream!  I will certainly convince myself that resting is a really good idea, the appropriate thing to do, as I am taking antibiotics and injuries are common when ligaments are weakened by antibiotics.

As far as exercising control over my nutrition, you can rest assured I will stay on track with my water and protein intake as that must be a constant. Mind over matter, do what's good versus what feels good, where there is the will there is a way.

In fact, I can hardly bite on anything but, as I started thinking of ways to meet my protein intake, I found quite a few solutions I want to share with you. First, it is my yummy chicken or turkey soup. This time I blended the whole thing after I made it and added a little pumpkin purée; it is delicious!
  Fat free zero carb chicken broth, pumpkin purée, turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, salt, blend and enjoy!
  Second was Greek yogurt.  Sure, I usually have Greek yogurt for my post workout, but in this case having Greek yogurt for a meal versus not having protein at all was a great alternative!
  Third, soft scrambled eggs with a little cheddar cheese, to die for!


So, here you have it, some options for you to chose from next time you don't feel well. Rest, be patient, make the best out of your situation, it isn't about all or nothing!  There is always a good alternative! 

THANKSGIVING 2012

Traditions, holidays and family celebrations have always been a fundamental part of my life and my family.

As a true Italian la famiglia is indeed everything to me. Many are the memories I hold of me and my family in Italy celebrating Pasqua, Natale, compleanni, year after year, with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

I departed from my family in Italy some twenty years ago to establish my life here in the USA with my husband. No matter how distant I have been from all who filled my beautiful memories I have from when I lived back in my old country, I have always been able to bring each and every moment we spent together with me. I am able to relive those past memories as I celebrate present holidays. They are with me always.

 

Today, as I celebrate this unique American holiday, I am thankful for the family I have grown around me along with my husband here in the US. I am thankful for all of those memories, la mia famiglia Italiana. I am thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me in life, even the ones that didn't quite look like opportunities at first. I am also thankful for having been able to pursue them fully; the personal growth that came from that pursuit has made me who I am today. I am truly thankful for all that I have today and the beautiful people in my life and those I meet daily.

PILGRIMAGE TO THE MECCA

 Reflections on the 2012 IFBB Titans Grand Prix Pro Physique and Training at the Mecca of Bodybuilding

 It’s been several weeks now since my trip to California to compete in the 2012 IFBB Titans Grand Prix Pro Physique and I still have a lot to share about my experience there.  This trip was a pilgrimage for me in several ways, a sort of return to the stage and a reconnection with a lifestyle my family and I pursue with so much passion.

On Stage with Titans

 It was, of course, rewarding to bring my body back into the physical condition necessary to get on stage and competing is the impetus to get me there.  It was equally rewarding, though, to be in the company of such great women who share this passion with me.  We come from different walks of life and from every corner of the world (from Thailand to Alaska to Brazil in fact) but we all have at least one thing in common – a bond with health and fitness and a drive to shape our bodies into the best version of ourselves and that bond is sealed with iron.  I find it reward enough to continue to compete if for no other reason than to stand on stage with these fine athletes.

 The IFBB Physique Pros With Promoter John Lindsay after the Athletes' Meeting

 With Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath 

Where it All Began 

There was no way I was going to go to Venice, California with my husband and trainer and not get in at least one workout at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach – the Mecca of bodybuilding!  We were close enough to walk from our hotel and what a beautiful walk it was.  The streets of Venice are beautiful, quiet and filled with quaint little houses that are all immaculately maintained. 

 

 Just one of many immaculate houses in Venice Beach.

Arriving at the gym was a little anticlimactic as you walk across an old parking lot into what looks a lot like a warehouse from the outside.  The only thing hinting at the significance of what waited inside was the logo painted on the wall near the door with the date, 1965, underneath.  There was even a sweet, quiet German Shepherd tied up near the door, patiently waiting on its owner.  This reminded Shawn of photos he had seen of the Original Gold's Gym just a few block from here where Joe Gold's Great Dane could be seen sitting in the shade of the door. Once inside you immediately get the sense this is a serious gym – no fluff necessary!

 

 Outside the Mecca with a New Friend

We were there to work back and there was plenty to work with.  It didn’t take long for Shawn to begin recognizing people and we were blessed with the company of some greats including Charles Glass and Mike O’Hearn. 

 Charles Glass - IFBB Bodybuilding Legend and Training Guru

 The Always Super Friendly Mike O'Hearn

At one point we were looking for the T-bar row set up and couldn’t find it anywhere when Shawn spotted Hidetada Yamagishi and said, he’ll know where the T-bar is.  Hide laughed when I asked him, saying, “Yeah, hard to believe but the only one is outside.  No body ever finds it.”  After a quick pic with Hide we went out back to the yard and located the T-bar and enjoyed training in the sunshine. 

 

 Japanese Bodybuilding Icon and Super Nice Guy - Hidetada Yamagishi

 T-Bar Rows Under the Sun!

Working out at the Mecca, I could really see why so many come here from around the world.  To train there, surrounded by enormous photos of the best in the history of the Physical Culture, I felt truly in touch with the roots of the sport that is so much more than a sport and so much more than a physical endeavor.  I too had now worked out where they all had and I knew I would definitely be back!

Working Out Under the Watchful Eye Of Legends 

 Out Back in the Yard at Gold's Gym Venice

Out Back in the Yard at Gold's Gym Venice

I WILL ALWAYS KEEP ON MOVING!

When show day finally arrives, no matter how many times I have competed before, I feel the thrill, the tension, the excitement and the anticipation of stepping on stage.  This time around, at the IFBB Titans Grand Prix Pro Women's Physique Championships, after all, I felt a little different as any other time before.

It was my first time competing in Women's Physique; the first time I didn't feel the amount of preoccupation that I usually experience when I competing as a fitness athlete and having to perform a fitness routine during prejudging.  Although, this time I was about to perform two routines, one 60 seconds long, and the other, 2 minutes long, the elements included in these routines were not nearly as difficult as the acrobatic, powerful elements I used to include in the fitness routines I performed as a fitness competitor.  


Although, I loved and still love fitness, I know now, more than I ever knew before, that training as a fitness competitor is not what my body currently needs in order to continue to improve and get stronger.  We all get injured wether we train or not, at work, around the house, doing the silly things, injuries are inevitable.  My personal experience tought me that one gets injured more often doing a simple everyday movement than while specifically training the body.  I train to maintain a healthy fit body and, most importantly, to improve my physique and to become stronger mentally and physically, no matter how old I am.

Over the past two years, the more I continued training for fitness, adding components  such as gymnastics/tumbling to my weekly training, the more my body kept on getting injured.  To put it simply, I feel if I continued to train for fitness I would have to put my body in situations in which I would have large chances of injuries.  Of course, I could continue training while healing the injury and find ways to manage, repair the injury and continue improving as I did many times in the past, but the busy life I live now with so many people relying on me, my clients, team members, family, I can't afford to put things on hold for a while, give my self some extra time to deal with my injuries.  Why put my body at risk voluntarily when I can direct my passionate spirit into something a bit safer and ultimately more rewarding to me?  


Me with a few of my amazing ladies, clients and friends and part of Team 907 Muscle Girls!  

Women's physique was the answer to my personal struggle these past two years.  I have been silently seeking the passion and excitement of training all over again without sacrificing so much in all of the other aspects of my life, as training to compete in fitness demands more hours of training dedicated to gymnastics, strength, power and flexibility moves.  I bow to fitness competitors as it is such a tough division!  Fitness ladies rock!  But, the women's physique division opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me!   The moment I stepped on stage at the Titans, I once and for all knew I was were I belong now.  

  

Just where I belong!  :-)  

The lessons I can take from the personal struggles of these past two years is that for sure, where there's the will there's the way!  I will never be done reinventing myself!  I will continue to improve my physique no matter how old I am.  I will neve give up my dreams and my goals!  I will continue to be in motion, always!  Whether, at times, I may move backwards :-( , sometimes sideways :-/, sometimes within, and other times straight forward :-), I will always keep on moving! 

Life is Movement!   

NEXT STOP...

I will be making this the official day one of my new journey, although, I actually trained and stayed true to my consistency of resistance and cardio training, as well as regularity of my meal / supplement plan and protein intake from right after competing on Saturday, October 20th. From the 21st to the 25th I stayed in California with my Seans for a family vacation and, although I enjoyed with them some of the amazing dishes Santa Monica restaurants had to offer, I continued to stay on track by following my post-contest training and diet plan, specifically designed for me by Shawn.

 

Keeping on track while enjoying some amazing Santa Monica dishes!

 

I have to share with you what my body felt like while doing cardio this morning. Many of my clients often ask me what they can do when they start feeling pain in their lower legs - particularly their calf and shin area while doing cardio. Well, today wasn't the first time I experience a very strong pressure all around my lower left leg, focused mainly in the calf region.  It was so strong I felt like quitting. Again, this is not the first time I felt this sort of pain while doing cardio the morning after flying. I knew I had to push through and that the pain would eventually dissipate and go away. Twenty minutes after its onset, it did. I believe that the swelling from flying has a whole lot to do with this kind of pain/tightness/pressure, and continuing the cardio session allowed my body to sweat some of the swelling away relieving most of the pressure and tightness. Believe it or not, sprinting allowed me to manage the pain better than walking.

 

After morning cardio the day following the 2012 IFBB Titans Grand Prix

 

Drinking abundant water allowed my body to continue to expel more of the fluid I was retaining from flying. Altogether, it was a very productive cardio session, but if I had quit with the onset of the pain it would have not been! Not uncommon to have to push through that pain threshold to succeed no matter what!  Just my personal experience, of course, but I hope some of you may find it useful along your journey.

 

Getting back to my day one, you are probably wondering, "day 1 of what?", and what my next stop will be. I am excited to share that I am currently in training for a strong 2013 competition season starting with stepping on stage at the 2013 IFBB Governor's Cup, Pro Physique on March 23rd in Sacramento.  I am excited to train for this as my husband and trainer Shawn will also be competing in the show and some of my friends of mine from across the country are planning on competing as well.

 

I will do my best to keep writing frequently in my training journal as it will make my journey even more meaningful knowing my blog may inspire and motivate a few of you. I will also soon be writing about my experience at the 2012 IFBB Titans Grand Prix Pro Physique and the trip to California overall.  Don't hesitate to leave your comments and questions as I will be happy to develop future blogs addressing them.

 

Love Your Life

FRIDAY BEFORE THE SHOW!

Today was dedicated to a little blood pumping upper body workout, routine and mandatories practice, applying the first and second coat of tan and...eat some carbs!

 

Shut up and Eat Carbs!

 

We started with the workout.  The hotel has a little gym with mostly cable machines.  Shawn and I liked the privacy of it, and decided, even the prior days, to workout here instead of going to the very near Golds Gym.  Working out this last week can look kind of  interesting.  Here I am all focused in contracting my muscles, cut and in shape while lifting relatively light weights.  It always great to meet new people at the gym when you are pretty much stage ready.  Today I had the pleasure to be approached by this security guard who came to show us the picture of his 18 year old son he is training in the basement of their home.  Loved the moment!  And such a nice looking physique!  His dad was so proud!  We stayed in the gym to practice the mandatory poses as well as the 60 second routine.  I feel pretty good about it!  I love the music.  It is very meaningful to me.  

 

At the hotel gym

 

My meal after the workout included, yes! carbs!  I am always a little scared to eat carbs at this point as I can't have total control over things as I like to.  I totally hand myself over to Shawn at this point. Things are different each time depending on what level of conditioning I get to when at this point.  One thing for sure, carbs taste good!  

 

Ready for my armor!  Let the games begin!

 

 First coat of tan went on earlier in the day.  I will keep it on for about 8 hrs, later I will take a soft rinse, dry and apply a second coat.  I already washed my hair and plan on not washing it again prior to the show.  I enjoyed styling it calmly while I allowed the first coat to dry.  It is nice to have time to take care of those little things I usually place at the bottom of my priority list any given day.  I guess one of the nice things about competing is all the attention I give to my personal self, my nails, my toes, my hair, the make up...feel all girly a few times a year and go to the extreme with the much needed pampering.  

 

Feeling all girly!

 

 

 

 

PLAN B

Two entries in one day!  Yes, I wanted to give you a little view into the negative and not so good events that happened yesterday to keep things real and honest.  
 
Yes, I have to be honest with you all. Yesterday was not all smooth after all.  As I was finally unpacking and  organizing everything from the suitcases into the drawers and closet, I  realized I didn't bring my inserts for the top of my suit, as well as the centerpiece that goes in between the cups of my suit. 
What's missing from this picture? 
Yes, I did have to pack rather quickly as we had just got back from taking our team to the Ironman in Washington, but I thought I took care of everything!  After realizing I forgot the inserts I was bummed and thought to myself, no problem, we will go get some tomorrow at the nearest Victoria Secret, a chance to shop a little as well!  Then I discovered I didn't have the centerpiece with me either, and at that point things fell apart!  
 
Shawn immediately tried to tell me to relax and that things were going to be ok, but I din't want to!  Yes, I know well, at this point in time, when you hold everything in place, control your self, think hard for everything and give your best every minute of your day to the prep, trying your all to be balanced, focused, strong, a little thing can push you over the edge.  
 
One bit of advice I would like to give to those family members who support their relatives through their contest prep is, when a moment like this one arrives, just let them vent.  It is like bleeding for a wound, it is a good sign!  It is like a pressure cooker, thank goodness that valve works or it would for surely explode under all that pressure!   I needed time alone, yes, it works for me to be left alone just for a little while.  After my little fit, after I let that pressure go, I was able to regain perspective on things.  I was able to take control through visualizing and reminding myself to not sweat the small stuff and that there is always plan B!  I reached out to a few friends and they were able to help!  Thank you, Jessy and Alicia for being there for me!  Jessy is sending all the missing things via next day air! 
 
Here you have it, we all have our moments.  It is about what you do when it comes time for them!  One last piece of advice, to those who compete and find themselves in these kinds of situations, be reasonable and kind to the ones who love you and are there for you along the way!  It is a two way street!  
 
We ended the day with a nice upper body workout in the hotel fitness center.  Nothing like feeling the blood pumping lean muscle a few days before a competition!
Representing our Northwest fitness family in Los Angeles!

THURSDAY BEFORE SHOW TIME!

Why fly on a Tuesday prior to show time?  
 
I woke up this morning and first thing I did is check my legs while still in bed.  I pulled the legs of pajamas bottoms up as I was curious to see how much down my legs were so far.  Yep, they are there!  Yeah!  What a surprise for Shawn!  Not really, right?  I know, he is always right!  But, I like surprises and to today I allow there to be a little doubt within myself because I love to be surprised in the end!  This is my new theory!  
 
Do you want to see what my ankles looked like after only the first leg of our trip?  Well, here you go!
 
 My ankles after arriving to Portland
Check them out!  So swollen!
 
Now, imaging what they looked like when I actually landed in LA, after flying again!  Not pretty, trust me!  I'll spare you the photo!  
 
So, if some of you my friends may have been wondering why we fly to the location of the event so early compared to other competitors, here you have it!  Today is Thursday, we landed Tuesday night, a little more than 24 hrs and finally my legs are starting to appear like they should on stage.  Here is a photo for you to compare with the previous one!  
 
Much better!
Swelling is down!
 
I have all day today and all day tomorrow still to allow for more changes to make their appearance and I can't wait!  Yes, I am getting excited as I write for you!  

 

WEDNESDAY BEFORE SHOW TIME!

Shawn got up before me this morning to head to the grocery store. I stayed in bed until he returned with my fuel! Today is day 1 of final week diet and preparing my meals in a specific way is more critical than anytime before. Traveling out of state to compete can make it challenging, but not when experience is on your side!  Shawn got back, prepared my meals, brought water and I started my day happy and relaxed!

Chicken is served!

 

Chicken is all packaged for the day!

 

Little Sean loves traveling with us when I compete. He is such a good traveler! He appreciates good quality hotels and the Embassy Suites is his favorite!

 

My little helper!

 

It is gorgeous here in LA! We stayed at the Embassy Suites last night as the host hotel was full. We checked out this morning and the shuttle from the Doubletree came to pick us up to drive us to the host hotel. It looks like nice neighborhoods all around. In the shuttle there is a sweet coconut smell of sun screen lotion. Amazing how your sense of odor is heighten when the food you eat is prepared simply! I can close my eyes and see myself at the beach already! I look forward to Sunday and the week that will follow. As a family we will take a mini vacation in Santa Monica. It will be a lot of fun since it the first real time off we have had together since 2009.

 

The view from the Embassy Suites!

 

Checked in the Doubletree with a smile, as they welcomed us with lots of cookies! I am really good with cravings and it doesn't bother me to watch my little guy enjoying his cookie. On the contrary, it makes me happy he is enjoying himself! The driver who transported us from the Embassy Suites to the Doubletree guessed I am one of the many competitors who will flow in here in the next few days; good thing I look like one!

I love the cookies at the Doubletree!  When I can actually eat them!

 

 

I HAVE ARRIVED!

On the flight to LA with my men.  Boy, I actually can't believe it!  We arrived!  Well, not quite yet, as we still have to land in Portland for our layover of 3+ hrs before we take our second flight to our final destination, but I do feel we did make it after all!
Little Sean enjoying his sandwich at Portland Airport on the way to Los Angeles 
These last four weeks have been like a roller coaster with sharp changes of direction and gears, suspenseful climbs and fast descents.  Of course, along the way I found myself wondering if I was going to be ready to step on stage in the conditioning I usually present myself when show day arrives.  I kept on going everyday, never skipping a beat, as this time I didn't have that little extra time I usually like to build in my contest prep to allow for some margin of error.
 
I knew as well as my supportive trainer and nutritionist, I had to stop any negative thoughts and focus on the positive outcome that comes from following and trusting a well thought out plan. I focused a whole lot less on me than previous contest preps, and that helped not being too worry about how much time I really had. I dedicated more time to life around me.
 Just me hanging out at the airport in Portland
Of course, having done this many times before has helped a great deal as I knew what to do and how my body tends to react to the process.  But, even now, I still actually wish Father Time would grant me a two more weeks of prep, one to rest a little, awww wouldn't that be nice!  Cruising  in neutral to catch my breath.  The second week, I would use it to push some more and even harder, coming in even tighter. 
 Sean once again is coming along with us!  Only three times we had to leave him behind with family friends and it was wonderful we could count on them to take such good care of him, but it sure has a whole different meaning to me when he is with us!  A family business to the end!
Well, Shawn keeps telling me I have to put more worth into this last critical week of training I just entered. And, of course, I know he is right.   Although, I have been here before many times and saw my body transforming in a matter of hrs, it sure is easy to forget so I need to be reminded.  That is what a good coach and mentor does - be there as you get close to standing on stage with an honest and grounded voice.  Feelings can be very deceiving, trust only the theory behind the plan, the research and the experience!  Amen, Coach Shawn!  ;-)   
 At the Portland airport - Shawn is working as usual while waiting for our connection to LA.And he is telling me with those eyes, don't worry, be happy!
Overall this contest prep has been a new discovery for sure.  It is my first time competing in the newly formed Women's Physique Division (WPD). While Fitness is and will always be my passion as it is where all got started, the years of training both as a competitive gymnasts and a fitness competitor dictated a necessary change in directions in order to maintain the health necessary to continue to simply train to stay strong, fit, balanced and happy for years to come!  With the formation of the WPD I began finding a new spark within me - a new passion! Women's Physique gave me back the enthusiasm I needed to  take my training to the level I been wanting to take it to for a while.  Women's Physique is the epitome of women's "bodybuilding".  It is what, in my opinion, women's bodybuilding was meant to be all along!  
 
Women's Physique does not include fitness routine which has made training a whole lot easier for sure! I bow to my fellow fitness competitors who continue training as fitness pros and those who are not pros quite yet, you are amazing and have all my appreciation!
 
In training to compete in Women's Physique I have been able to be more involved in managing our personal training studio, training my clients, spending time with my son and homeschooling him, train with my husband, grow the promotion of our bodybuilding events in Alaska, the NPC Alaska State Championships and the  NPC Midnight Sun.  Also very dear to me, is taking special care of every member of our well establish team of women in Alaska, Team 907 Muscle GIrls.  They are an amazing group of women who daily make me proud of their accomplishments both physical and mental as individuals and as the amazing team they are!  
 
I set forth this journey 9 weeks ago as I knew deep in my heart it was time for me to step on stage again no matter what, to start once again being competitive all year around, to represent Alaska, as well as walking the talk for my team.  Since 2009, for two years, our business had to take priority and competing was definitely not an option.  I had to be patient and pour my perseverance, passion and strength into the growth of our business.  I am so blessed to have a partner in business who is as passionate, perseverant as me and whose strength, values and dedication to his family are without doubt.  I owe so much to him for where our life, business and family is today and I can't tell him thank you enough for all he has and continues to do daily.  
 
This contest prep has been about meshing competing with everything we do as a family, studio owners, promoters, coaches and parents.  So, yes, I feel I have arrived as I accomplished so many of the things I set forth to accomplish in all of these segments of my life!  ;-)  
Arrived!  With my bodyguards!
 
 
 
 
 

PREPARE, ORGANIZE AND SUCCEED

I dedicate this beautiful Sunday to organizing my schedule accordingly to the demands of next weeks commitments, and to preparing all the necessities from meals to clean clothes!  Of course nothing started before morning cardio!  A little run, a little sprinting and some hill walking while watching my new favorite series, Flashpoint.  

 

 

 

TRAINING FOR THE IFBB TITANS GRAND PRIX PRO WOMEN'S PHYSIQUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

8 weeks out - Going for it!

I have been wearing different outfits and hats lately and I LOVE them all!  I have been having such a rewarding, fulfilling journey, the present is thrilling, for sure full of strong beautiful people, emotions, constant changes and meaningful friends, the future is bright and the spirit continues to fly high, and it is now time to put on my clear shiny heels, or maybe go barefoot this time ;-), wear my sparkly two-piece suit and own the stage again soon!  With my rocks on my side, my trainer and diet coach Shawn Clapp, as well as my greatest supporter, my son Sean, I feel invincible!

 

It will be interesting to see how the two years of weight training without the pre-contest diet cuts has shaped my physique.  I will be competing on Saturday, October 20th, in only 8 weeks, at the IFFB Titans Grand Prix Pro Womens's Physique Championships, in Culver City, CA.  I want to take you with me again through this journey as it is so much more meaningful to me to share this stage of my training with you to give you an insight view and perspective on competing.  I hope I can motivate and inspire women especially the ones in their 40's like me, the mothers, the wives and, yes, the grandmothers!  I welcome your questions!

 

Rest assured you will hear back from me in my journal entries!  ;-).

 

Let the journey begin!

 

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Love your life!

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT HOW YOU HANDLE PLAN B

May 18, 2012

Tomorrow will be my 43rd birthday and I am so much looking forward to it!  Saturday, morning cardio, relaxing shower, breakfast with my men, cooking meals, family time at the studio training biceps and triceps, meet with my 907 Muscle Girls and friends for a hike on Bird Ridge, relaxing night with family and friends playing games and simply having good times.  

I already received a couple of really nice birthday cards today and they made my day.  The little things in life that make your heart smile...a couple of drawings from a client's little girls, a picture of Wonder Woman from one of my 907 Muscle Girls, really cool picture I have to say!  I'd like to think I am like Wonder Woman! Especially during tough times - it sure helps to keep moving forward!  hahaha!  I will have that picture to look at now to remind me to be like her when times call for action!  I think I may actually have an idea for my next photoshoot now!  ;-)    

Another really nice card I received from a friend reflects a lot of what my and my husband's approach in life often is.   

“Life is All About How you Handle Plan B

Plan A is always my first choice.
You know, the one where
Everything works out to be
Happily ever-after.

But more often than not,
I find myself dealing with
The upside-down, inside-out version -- Where nothing goes as it should.

It's at this point that the real
Test of my character comes in..
Do I sink, or do I swim?
Do I wallow in self pity and play the victim, 
Or simply shift gears
And make the best of the situation?

The choice is all mine...
Life is all about how you handle Plan B.”  by Suzi Toronto

Have a great day everyone and keep in mind what life is all about!  

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 1, 2012

What a relaxing day! One of the relaxing things I did today was read past entries of my training journal.  In one particular entry, "First Day of Another Amazing Year" I wrote on January 1, 2011, I detailed my plans for the upcoming year. 

I was preparing for a guest performance at the 2011 NPC Vancouver USA Natural & Tanji Johnson's Figure, Fitness, Bikini Championships on April 2nd. Goal accomplished! It was such an exciting and memorable experience!

 

For 2011 I had planned on Co-promoting with my husband and NPC Alaska State Chairman, Shawn Clapp, the NPC Alaska State Championships, on April 30th, andthe NPC Jackie's Place Midnight Sun Championships on August 20th. Both shows were a success thanks to our staff and supporters.

 

I planned on making 2011 my best year yet as far as working along side my clients toward achieving their goals with all the tools available and see them succeed in their journeys.  We did it and I witnessed some amazing transformation stories that made my year!

 

I planned on continuing to home school my son, preparing him to succeed in his first standardized test for 3rd graders. We had a great school year and his standardized test was a great learning experience. His test scores placed him high above average and gave us all a great sense of accomplishment.

 

2011 was supposed to be the year I gave back to my husband through supporting him in his goal of competing. I also had planned on competing in my second pro show. Neither of us ended up competiting in 2011 and this would appear as a failure in accomplishing these particular goals. But something amazing actually happened that made us both realize the need to modify our plans and take a different plan of action.  It was the creation of our Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Women's Physique Team, the 907 Muscle Girls.

 

Since its establishment in June of 2011, the team has been growing at a fast pace with new members, sponsorships, opportunities and success in state and out of state. We are greatful for the opportunity these amazing women are giving us in working with them in helping them achieve their goals. It is such a rewarding experience to watch so many you care about reach new heights in their fitness journey that at times prioritizing their goals over my own comes with much joy and ease.

 

A few weeks ago, after receiving the 2012 IFBB Professional League competition contracts, calendar and pro card application, I started making plans for my 2012 competition season. Although I intend to compete in as many of the 2012 Fitness Olympia qualifiers as possible (except the FIBO in Berlin since it is the same day as the Emerald Cup) I cannot yet commit to any specific competition due to our team's schedule. I will begin contest preping/diet tomorrow even though I have not yet decided for sure which event I will be competing in yet. Today, on the first day of this new year, we are exactly 13 weeks out from the first event this year our team will be competing in, the 2012 NPC Vancouver USA Natural & Tanji Johnson's Figure, Fitness, Bikini Championships. I will be sharing my contest prep here in my training journal and it is exciting most of my Muscle Girls will be preparing for their first competition of the season, either the Vancouver USA Natural Classic on March 31st or the Jackie’s Place 2012 NPC Alaska State Championships.

 

 

More goals for 2012?

Getting even better at balancing my life.

Finishing all the curricula for Sean's 4th grade disciplines. So looking forward to start homeschooling tomorrow after this holiday break!

Training hard and consistently while making memories with my family and friends, growing our business and team and journaling consistently here and keep in touch with all of you.

MY FIRST PRO GUEST PERFORMANCE!

My guest performance at this year’s Vancouver USA / Tanji Johnson Fitness Figure and Bikini Championships has special meaning to me.  Right after earning professional status last fall at NPC Fitness Nationals / Team Universe, my dear coach and friend Tanji asked me to guest perform at her show, and I can’t explain how I felt…so honored and filled with excitement.  After that conversation with Tanji I knew I had just been given a great opportunity to bring it back home!

 

I see this guest performance as the connecting point of my spiral journey!  It was at the Vancouver USA / Tanji Johnson Championships in 2008 that I competed in fitness for my first time outside of Alaska and my very second time altogether. There I met so many people, and today I am so proud and honored to call them my family and friends. That amazing weekend I became part of our wonderful Northwest Body Building family!  I fell in love with it and, thanks to many of their encouraging words, I continued competing in fitness in pursuit of my pro card.  Here I am now, 3 years later, guest performing on the same stage where it all began with the same excitement, and amongst the family I love!

My first guest performance as an IFBB Pro was everything I hoped it would be and much more!   I focused on my performance and trained to deliver an entertaining routine.  I had built the routine not worrying about the difficulty of the skills but with emphasis on the element of capturing the audience’s attention and expressing myself.  Of course the only way for me to do that was through an Italian theme!

 

As soon as I landed in Portland on Friday, we headed straight to the venue in Vancouver to attend the rehearsal.  Tanji’s rehearsals are the best!  Every year a team of pros steps on stage to demonstrate how the show will unfold in all of the details, and this year I was one of them!  Tanji even made some cute pink t-shirts with really big writing on the back that says, “IFBB PRO” for all of us.  I thought it was kind of funny…written in big print just in case anyone missed it! LOL I have to admit, I LOVE IT, and I am very proud of it!  I am thinking about having all my shirts screen printed like that!   Just kidding – sort of!

The rehearsal was a lot of fun and very useful, especially for first-time competitors!  It means so much to have such a detailed rehearsal; it takes away much of the stress that builds up from the many unknowns and you get to meet everyone before hand!  All the ladies there had the chance to get on stage and walk through a mock prejudging and evening show.  It was a treat to be there helping them!  Throughout the weekend I reunited with good friends and I met new ones but, most of all, I was able to share the thrill of many first time competitors and witness rising champions like the young junior fitness competitors.  I know I will be able to say I watched them compete when they were only little girls in a few years, yes I was there!

 

After my performance I was honored with a special award from Tanji, and needless to say it was such an emotional moment!   Excited for the show in itself and everyone competing in it, I truly didn’t expect the award and I was very surprised!  Both my husband and my boy where called up on stage, and it was an amazing feeling to share this moment of joy with them as they were there for me every step of the way!  A few tears ran down my cheeks, but they were only tears of joy!

 

SUFFERING

If you have read my journal before you know I often like to watch a good movie while doing cardio on my treadmill at home.  One of the last movies I watched reminded me to always put things in perspective, and how much happiness there is in my life no matter how much struggle there might be at times.

 

I like to watch realistic movies when I am all by myself and my little guy is not around.  Usually it coincides with my early morning cardio before I wake him up for home school.  Well, a few weeks ago, I sure topped myself with the reality of the subject depicted in the movie I chose.  “Attack on Darfur” is the title of the movie I picked.  And what a good movie this is!  The seriousness of the current drama discussed once again reminded me to put things in perspective.  I seriously wanted to stop the movie about half way through because of some of the very descriptive scenes, but I did not.  I couldn’t stop watching, I had to continue!  The movie was made to make people aware of what the reality of life is like in The Sudan.  I don’t want to explain in detail what some of the movie scenes were like, one can just Google Darfur to see some of the real images of what kind of suffering the movie portrays.  This kind of suffering is unfortunately not only a movie, it is real and happening daily in Africa!

 

I talk about suffering with my clients, referring to some of the sacrifices one has to make in order to follow a meal plan, or a workout schedule, but is it truly suffering?  Am I truly suffering when I push through the last couple of reps during a heavy set of squats? Am I truly suffering when I have to get that night cardio in so late at night when my legs are in “pain”?  I can come up with a few more examples of what could be considered suffering during training and so can a few of my fellow fitness friends.  Is it world history that I am interested in, while seeking these kinds of movies?  I don’t think so. I know deep inside that, even through the struggles of being a mother, a spouse, a business woman, and a fitness competitor, I DO NOT REALLY HURT or SUFFER.  It is not history I am searching for but a reminder of my true condition.  I choose to do what I do.  I choose to live the life I want.  I train hard to better myself each and every day.  Yes, there is struggle in what I choose to do, but it is neither true pain, nor torture.  It is not peril, nor is it destruction.

 

Training hard is what gets me close to the real life struggle I would actually encounter if I didn’t live the modern, civilized, free life I live.  I crave that feeling of exhaustion and loss of control because, when I am no longer exhausted and I gain my control back, I truly feel invincible and, above all, so lucky to have all that I have: a healthy body, a happy family, and a future.   I guess the lesson I like to relearn every so often is that, whatever hard situation I am going through, there is always someone somewhere who is living through a much harder situation that me.  My pain is tied to the moment, and is only temporary and voluntary.  Once I live through it I can think that, for a brief moment, I might have felt a tiny bit closer to those who really suffer in life.  My workouts are often a dedication to them and the strength I gain from my workouts is what fuels my actions in giving back to my family and the community I live in for a better future for us all.

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