The Other M.Y.

The Other M.Y.

Nov10-3When I first started my fitness competitions in March 1998 I didn’t know anyone.  Sometimes I would walk up to a group of competitors and ask them if I could hang out with them so I’d know where to go.  I never had anyone in the audience supporting me.  It was just me, the stage and bringing my best package.  When you talk about doing something for yourself – those competitions were all about me.

After my third competition that April I realized that there was this one woman that had been to every competition I had.  We always competed in the same group and she always had a loud group of people cheering for her.  From that point on, I started taking advantage of her crowd.  Her name was Michelle.  Every time we were on stage and I heard “Let’s go Michelle”, I’d imagine that they were cheering for me!

During that competition I finally talked with Michelle backstage.  Not only was her first name Michelle, but her last name was Yatsuk.  I blushed when I told her my secret about her friends in the stands.  Instead of getting mad and walking away, she did something else.

Michelle and I kept in touch for several months.  Although I placed ahead of her in each of those competitions, she always encouraged me and was excited for my wins.  At our next competition in October in Cincy, she let me stay at her house.  Before we went on stage, she told me that she told her friends to cheer for me too!  I finally had some fans of my own.  That was the start of my friendship with Michelle and we always refer to each other as “the other M.Y.”

Two years pass and I’m in the audience at KY Muscle this past weekend here in Louisville.  It was great to see all of my friends compete.  However, the highlight of the competition was seeing Michelle onstage competing.  I sat anxious in the third row.  For once I was able to to yell “Let’s go Michelle!”, “You got this Michelle!” and “Lookin’ good Michelle!”   Michelle ended up winning her group and looked amazing!  I am a better competitor because of Michelle and was proud to return the love and support she has given me over the years.  Not all competitions are about winning, sometimes it’s about helping to celebrate someone else’s success!

M.Y. November 2010

Room for Improvement

Room For Improvement

Feb09-2When I was a teacher, we would receive a summative evaluation every 1-3 years.  You could receive markings like “Consistently Meets”, “Adequate Meets”, “Inconsistently Meets” and “Does Not Meet”.  I always received great markings.  One of my principals told the entire staff that she never gives all “consistently meets” because she always believes that there is room for improvement. Regardless of how wonderful our classroom and teaching ability may be, we should always strive to motivate ourselves to do more.  That made complete sense to me!

I was excited to recently celebrate one year of my figure/fitness training.  In order to work with my trainer in Cincy last year, I had to first email her my photo so she could see if I had ‘potential’.  I thought my photo was decent.  My elbows were a little pointy (I call them my daggers), but I thought I fit into the two piece well.

So, here it is a year later and I take another photo.  Same bathing suit.  Stood in the same place in my house to take the pic.  When I put the two photos next to each other I was amazed at the differences.  Although my weight was about the same, I had gained a lot of muscle.  My butt (which I’ve discussed previously) last year was a little droopy on the sides.  Squats perked it up a bit.  My legs are fuller and my shoulders more rounded.

Seeing both photos reminded me that there really is always room from improvement.  I was content with the 2008 Yeager model, but further enjoy version 2.0.  So often the changes in our life our small.  I look in a mirror everyday, so I don’t really feel like I am making changes in my physique.  However, once you’re able to take a step back and look at the big pictures, you’ll see that change is coming.  Small steps can make a tremendous difference.  If you’ve been trying to accomplish something for some time, stop and think about where you are now with your goal.  Now, think about where you were when you first started.  Although you may not be at your final step in the process, I think you’d be amazed at how far you’ve come thus far.

M.Y.  February 2009

7th Time’s a Charm

“Seventh Time is a Charm”
Nov08-2This was my year of competitions!  I decided to jump in head first and dedicate myself to figure and then fitness competitions.  I started training the last week of January and my first competition was on March 22 in Northern KY, the day before Easter. I would have never thought that I would have won my height class, but I did.  It was pure thrill being up on the stage seeing all of my hard work pay off.  After the first competition I was hooked.  My new goal was to win the overall title of all the competitors.

My next competition was two weeks later in Cleveland.  Once again I won my class (and the 6 ft trophy) but not the overall title.  Shucks.  A week later I was in Cincy.  I placed 4th in my class.  I felt very slighted and that the competition was fixed.  The woman that won trained at the gym that sponsored the competition.  Others told me the same thing and I didn’t even want the trophy.  I hid it in my room and erased the competition from my memory.   Never again would I compete there.
From there was the National competition in May in South Carolina.  There I decided that I wanted to switch over to fitness.  I entered my first fitness competition in July in Fort Wayne, IN and placed first in fitness and second in figure.  I felt great with only two weeks to get ready for the show.
I ended the season with a fitness competition in Baltimore.  I placed first in fitness and fourth in figure.  The women there looked wonderful, so I was fine with my placement.  I fought with myself about doing one more competition.  It was the same Cincy competition as earlier in the year.  I wanted to protest the show, but at the same time wanted to compete one last time.
After going back and forth, I decided to enter.  It was a large competition.  There were over 18 women in my height class.  The women who placed ahead of me in April were there again.  I thought to myself that I could have been at home stuffing my face!  Oh well, there was no turning back.  I became a little more excited when I was told there would be a new head judge.  Once on the competition floor, I was moved to the middle for pre-judging (that’s a good sign).  I received compliments from my trainer and people in the audience.  I felt good.  During the finals it was announced that I won my class.  Hip hip hooray for Louisville!  Now came the title I wanted the most – the overall.  They brought out each class winner and we competed against each other for the overall title.  Oh, I wanted it so bad.  I wasn’t a hometown favorite so I didn’t have the backing of the crowd.  But, I DID IT!  I won the overall title.  In addition, I received the award (Best Symmetry) for the person with the most potential for the future.  I received two trophies, a plaque, and a champion jacket!  It took seven months and seven competitions – but the additional thrill was worth the wait!

M.Y.  November 20008

You Ate What?

“You Ate What?”

May08-4A lot of people have been asking me what I ate during my training.  Although time consuming to prepare, it was actually pretty simple.  Meal 1 – 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites, ¾ cup oatmeal, 3 oz of lean meat (chicken breast, sirloin steak or fish).  Meal 2 – two scoop protein shake with 20 oz of water.  Meal 3 – 5 oz lean meat, ½ cup brown rice or 4 oz sweet potato, 2 cups vegetables.  Meal  4 – 2 scoop protein shake with 20 oz of water.  Meal 5 – 6 oz lean meat and 2 cups of vegetables.  Dessert – sugar or fat free jello or pudding.  And that’s it.  Everything was carefully measured out.  You didn’t miss anything between the lines.    If it’s not written above then I didn’t eat it.  No pasta, no fruit, no sausage, no popcorn, no cheese, no milk or dairy products, no hot fudge sundaes.  NADA.  Now there were things I could have substituted that I don’t like, but the above is simply what I ate for four straight months.  My excitement came in the form of my pudding cup at the end of the day (dulce de leche or chocolate mint) and I was able to add variation by switching vegetables and meats.  I also found a wonderful muffin and waffle protein recipe for my first meal every morning.

My training has stopped for the summer and last week was my first real week of ‘normal eating’.  I was told to ease back into regular meals, but I don’t think I listened very well.  Sunday (5/18) –  Qdoba for dinner, Monday – Panera for lunch with a caramel pecan brownie, Tuesday – popcorn at the movies,  Thursday – Quizno’s for lunch and Famous Dave’s (2 sausage links, corn bread, baked beans, apples, and corn) along with Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen for dinner, Friday – a gyro with fries for lunch and a Krispy Kreme doughnut (chocolate iced crème filled) back at my office, Saturday – a cookout (2 servings including Adrienne’s wonderful macaroni and Arnita’s peach cobbler), Sunday – brunch at Blu, two cookouts (more great food) and dessert at J. Alexander’s (carrot cake).

Sunday at 3:00 in the morning – an overly full stomach and heart, heart, heartburn.  I didn’t feel sick, I just couldn’t move.  I was supposed to celebrate my birthday on Monday by going out to eat with my friends for lunch, but I had to cancel.  I felt if someone stuck me with a pin I would have exploded.  Instead I had a healthy birthday and we went walking around Seneca Park for exercise.  I fortunately/unfortunately got most of the meals I missed eaten in one week’s time.  I was worried about ‘blowing up’ but luckily I also worked out throughout the week at the gym.

While I won’t continue the extensive meal plan unless I’m getting ready for another competition, I also won’t just let loose like I did last week.  I believe there is a great way to balance the two and I’ll find that balance right after I eat that one bowl of whole wheat pasta with sausage from Macaroni Grill!!!!  (-;

(and yes, it’s no wig – the hair is cut)

M.Y.  May 2008

A 6-foot dilemma

A 6-foot dilemma

I had my second figure competition last weekend in Cleveland.  There was drama with the airline trying to fly out of Louisville so I started to second guess if I really should have been making the trip.  There were twice as many ladies in my figure class (14).  I sent my friends a text message in the afternoon excitedly letting them know that I’d been tested for drugs.  They asked if that was a good thing.  I explained that this was a natural competition, meaning – no drugs, steroids or diuretics allowed.  To be tested meant I placed in the top five.

Fast forward to the night show.  First place in Class B – Michelle Yeager!  Hey,that’s me!  And with the first place finish came a 6-foot trophy.  Wow!  This thing was big.  I was amazed at its size and honored to receive it.  As I left the competition at 11:30 that evening, I realized I had a big problem.  HOW AM I GOING TO TRAVEL WITH THIS 6 FT THING?  As I put the trophy into my 2-door rental car, I accidentally broke the top off the trophy – so now I only had a 5-foot trophy!  I called Southwest to see if they would let me travel with it (my flight left at 8:30am on Sunday).  NOPE!  Can I check it in?  Nope, it’s too fragile.  Can Cargo take it?  Maybe, but hold on, they are closed on Sundays.  What’s a girl to do?  Where there’s a will, there has to be a way!

My friend, Jeff, lived in the area and I woke his butt up at 6:00am to ask for some tools to take the trophy apart.  His bachelor pad was absolute chaos and even if he had the tools, there was no telling where they would be.  I asked if they had a 24-Walmart so I could go and buy the part.  There was one, but it was too far away.  Home Depot didn’t open until 8.  Crap, crap, crap.  I need to get this trophy home!!!  Just as I get online to look into renting a car and just driving myself and the 6 (now 5) foot trophy home, Jeff found the tool to take it all apart – just in time for me to rush to the airport.

I arrived safely back in Louisville and although tired, spent the next two hours trying to put this trophy (and all its little parts) back together, including super gluing on the broken lady on the top.  I looked at the trophy in amazement, but then had another positive dilemma – Where am I going to put this thing?!!!!

M.Y.  April 2008

Eight Weeks of Training

“Eight Weeks of Training”

Mar08-1For the past eight weeks I have been training for a figure competition.  I gave up all of my favorite foods: pasta, sausage, cheese, bread, fruit, and desserts.  My meals consisted only of chicken/sirloin or fish, brown rice, egg whites and vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables and protein shakes.  Nothing else for 8 weeks with five meals a day.  I also found myself at the gym more – six days a week.  Some days of training required morning cardio so I found myself dragging to the gym at 5 in the morning.  Yes, five in the morning for a two hour workout.  The worst was probably the water.  The final week of prep had me drinking 2 GALLONS of water a day.  I was running (not walking) to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

I noticed physical changes throughout the entire process.  While my weight didn’t change, by body fat decreased by 5% and I lost two inches in both my hips and waist.  I also gained muscle and overall looked more tone.  I had to give up a lot of things, including dating.  I wasn’t able to go out to eat at restaurants and although I could do movies, the smell of popcorn drove me crazy.  Not only that, but after work and working out, all I felt like doing when I came home was eating and then sleeping.  It really was all about me during this time.

My first competition was this past Saturday in Covington. My goal was Top Five in my height category. There were over 100 women entered and at first I was intimidated by everyone. You immediately start sizing yourself compared to others.  The more I looked at others, though, the more I realized that I looked as good, if not better than many.  I felt more at ease. There were six height classes and I was in the 2nd shortest (figures)!   Being on stage in front of the judges was glorious.  I’ve grown up performing in front of others and the surge of energy is amazing. As they start giving out awards for my class, I realize I have a great chance of winning – and I did!!! First place, which qualifies me for nationals, what a thrill! (and the pizza I ate while driving home was so tasty!)

I’m still on cloud nine and it’s not only for winning.  I set a goal and saw it through.  I found myself cooking a week’s worth of food every Sunday and going down grocery aisles that only healthy people stroll.  I pushed myself physically. I stayed focused, surrounded myself with positive people and resisted temptation at every corner.  Only time shall tell what my figure future holds!  Click here for the complete blog.

M.Y. March 2008