The Ah-nold

The Ah-nold”

Mar10-2On Sunday, Monique won an Oscar for her performance in the movie Precious.  During her acceptance speech she said, “Sometimes you have to forgo doing what is popular in order to do what’s right”.  I’ve felt this way the past 12 weeks while getting ready for my last fitness competition.

The competition, The Arnold, was this weekend in Columbus, OH.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was there in full force and there were competitors from many countries around the world.  I knew that not everyone could win, so I prayed to God and set three goals – 1. To bring down my glutes (black women, we know our butts look great in jeans, but we aren’t packing too much muscle),  2. To increase my routine placing (last year it was 7th out of 8) and 3. – to increase my overall placing of fifth from last year.

I was pretty nervous all last week about competing.  All my days of not hanging out with friends, or skipping invites for great meals – would they pay off?  All the many days spent in the gym and in the basement doing cardio – would it be enough?   All the money spent on costumes, travel and prep – would anyone notice?  All the fans and supporters that stood by my side – would I let them down?

The competition was Thursday night.  On Thursday afternoon I went to a MAC store there and had my makeup done.  After my visit with Janelle, I felt absolutely beautiful!  That moment was the first moment that I felt prepared to compete.  I was no longer nervous, I was excited.  I knew as long as I brought my best package to the stage, I would be proud.

My routine went well and I had a cheering section that was heard loudly throughout the arena.  For our two piece round, I wasn’t in the exact middle (which is where the favored person stands).  So ,going home I really had no idea how I would place.

Saturday morning was the awards on the Arnold expo stage in front of thousands of visitors.  The top five in my class were announced and I was one of them.  5th, 4th and 3rd were announced.  That only left two of us.  I felt like a Miss America contestant.  As the announcer said 2nd place, I realized that he did not say my name.  I WON!!  I ACTUALLY WON MY CLASS AT THE ARNOLD!

I was speechless, overjoyed and glanced out in the audience and saw my coach Ceal beaming.  The crowd was actually cheering for me.  I received the winning trophy, me!  I received the jacket – and for that moment, it was my moment to shine.

Dreams do come true.  Goals can be set and accomplished if you stay focused.  Be patient for your time to shine, because it could be just around the corner! (and boy was that Dominos pizza good on the car ride home!)

M.Y. March 2010

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