Where the hell you been?

Where the hell have I been? Well, cliff notes:

1. I graduated from SDSU.

I earned my B.A in English and I’m applying to grad school for my masters and credential, and this will lead me on the path to earning my Ph.D. These are big goals and not new ones and something the younger me always had in mind. I’ve always envisioned having “Dr.” in front of my last name: Dr. Ursua and it’s time to achieve that #childofimmigrants.

2. I did a powerlifting meet. I set some PRs in a lighter weight class and I jumped in after finding one that fit the right time frame for my figure prep because I’m still bodybuilding.

3. I have two hernias #fml.

Now somewhere in between all that is a bigger thing in the background: treatment for my PTSD.

Uncle Sam paid for this 🇺🇸.

So my main objective the last couple months was to graduate. I had to weed out what was time-consuming. I avoided Facebook (best decision ever) and I stopped blogging but I maintained my IG. Now I’m in the application process for grad school and lucky for me, I’m such a nerd that my GPA gave me a pass from taking the GRE. I would’ve been done sooner with my B.A but military moves and a growing family took center stage. I wasn’t a traditional student from the get-go #surprisesurprise but nonetheless, I achieved a professional life goal.

My powerlifting meet was out on a whim. I didn’t focus on the normal cheesy powerlifter countdown (blank) (blank) weeks out schemata. I think that is what kept me from being overly anxious about it and I had bigger fish to fry lol.

Most likely in pain here 😅.

Anywho, during my prep, I had abdominal issues but I dismissed the pain as me losing a protective layer of fat and I had to get used to my belt. However, the pain persisted and I would look at lifting with complete dread. Every time I would get ready to squat, I would be scared to get under the bar. But being the type of individual I am, I persisted. WELL until I had a weird lump pop out of my abdomen not once but twice. SON of A!!!!! Yup, it’s a hernia. And of course, after those two episodes, it just kept happening. I did get the OK from my doc to continue to lift, but he said the minute I couldn’t pop it back in, to head to the ER.

SO I ended up doing my meet and of course, it wasn’t without some hernia problem. I had to deal with painful constipation, due to the type of a hernia I have and because of my self-treatment for it. The night before, my abdomen hurt so bad I almost went to the ER. BUT being the type of individual that I am, I chose to sleep it off and I waited it out. There’s a pattern here 🤔…

(AND No one knew because I’m a stubborn heffer 🤣. I was making it at all costs.)

Squad 🤘🏽. My coach and Teammates at the Camp Pendleton Open.

Success. My meet went as good as it could go under my abdominal circumstances and even better. I opened with my squat and deadlift 3rd attempts, which, was my number one goal. Bench, however, could have gone smoother, and I blame myself for it. I already know what I need to do and I’m looking forward to hopping back on meet prepping to surpass my lifting PRs. Especially bench since I have a strong bench teacher in my corner to help me reach that goal 😎#teamMeatheads. And after taking care of my hernia #ABsofSteel here we come!!!

An early birthday present from one Meathead to another. Best gift ever 🎁!

Anywho, I added to my total at 165# BW. Now what? Well, my hernia is number one priority because it turns out I have two. An epigastric one and an umbilical hernia and this will put me out for 6 weeks. NO lifting anything over 20#s or doing exercises that make me bear down on my abdomen. As for bodybuilding, I will continue the course, however, staying healthy is number one priority because I’m in the strength game for the long run and I’m not bringing a half-ass package to the stage. Not how I roll.

PTSD. Well, where do I start with that?🤔 It’s a taboo subject, even though there are countless veteran PTSD announcements splattered across social media, but they are devoid of putting a face to it. Am I oversharing here? Maybe, maybe not but if I can help anyone suffering in silence to reach out if they aren’t ok, then I don’t care about oversharing. I’ve lived with PTSD for over 20 years and if there’s an analogy I can use to describe how it feels this is how: it’s like carrying a heavy backpack full of bricks. Eventually, it gets so heavy you can’t carry it anymore. If you know me in person, you know I don’t like asking for help and I just keep trucking forward, but sometimes you get tired and stall. I reached that point, so I got help and I’m happy I did. PTSD robbed me of many happy moments and I lost chunks of time because of it. But I’ll dive more into that in a future blog post because Nena is awake now.🙏🏽

Selfie after seeing my transcripts. Officially an educated Chicana ✊🏽🖤.

Anywho, I will say this, lifting has kept me afloat throughout my treatment process and some days I got it in me to keep fighting, other days it weighs me down BUT I’m one stubborn woman, or as my son says I’m tenacious.

I’m not done fighting.🙏🏽🖤

And I’m 19 weeks out 🤣…haha time to work.

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Work it Girrrlll!

What’s new in my world of bodybuilding?? Well, I got my first pair of figure shoes, and I’m learning how to figure pose! I also had my refeed and a much-needed deload week.

This week I am excited to get back into things and start a new training cycle. Anywho, let’s talk shoes.

Hi 🖑! My coach said to wear socks to stretch out the shoes. Absolutely tacky, but it’s working.

Figure shoes: First things first,  I have not worn heels on a consistent basis in forever. I used to go dancing and would wear heels,  but shipped out for the Navy and said fuck heels.  Team comfort all the way. I mean who the hell wants to wear heels walking around a naval ship??? Not I.

I bought some new Vans too #spoilyourself.

But don’t get me wrong who doesn’t love a nice pair of heels to strut in,  but my comfort supersedes the need for fashion, and I rarely go out and my closet has more gym clothes than going out clothes.  Also, I’m tall as it is and depending on the size of the heel, I’ll tower close to 6ft. So yeah I avoided heels to avoid being the giraffe of the group. BUT now that I am practicing, I’m liking it, and hell maybe I’ll start adding in heels to my wardrobe. Yeah, maybe not.

Anywho, god damn it these heels are no joke.  They are 5 inches and well definitely not a beginners shoe.  I told myself it’s time to rewatch To Wong Foo and get my Chi-Chi Rodriguez strut on and work it.

This is Chi-Chi Rodriguez. I love her character in: To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. 

 

My fear is falling on my ass on stage. I can diet,  I can lift all the god damn weights, but heels and posing??? It’s a whole other ballgame.  The whole time I wore my heels all I kept thinking was: Edna you LIE!! She told me they’d be super comfortable, but my toes were saying otherwise. The balls of my feet were hurting like hell and I got toe cramps. But I love challenges so time to adapt, and well my tortas haven’t seen heels in FOREVER so of course, it’s going to feel like a medieval torture device on my feet.  Get it together Elaine.

Figure Posing!!! Um….I need to what? Alright so contrary to what I was taught in power-lifting in regards to bracing, and keeping your pelvis neutral and not having anterior pelvic tilt. In bodybuilding,  you stick your butt out and tilt that nalga. It has to be the most painful position ever and I can’t hold it without getting back cramps.

 

 

If you are squatting, deadlifting and overhead pressing like the chick on the right, STOP. Correct yourself before you wreck yourself and get into a neutral position. Say no to stripper booty!!

Add in the heels and a smile and I’m taken aback.  Tell me to go carry a 150# sandbag let’s go! Tell me to go dead-lift for reps, let’s go! But this is where I’m weak-sauce and I’m just like: HOLY SHIT.💩💩  And I have to smile? I’m the least graceful person ever, and I’ve dropped an 80# keg on my big toe once. So yeah, this is going to be lots of fun, and it is going to take a shit load of concentration, and honing in my inner sassy nalga.

It’s all new to me and I’m just getting into the swing of things so bear with me and the #fitgirl tantrums.

 

I made the mistake and googled “pizza porn.” If you are searching for rated G pizza porn, just use pizza in the search engine.   

 

Refeed 😍😍. Girl, you played yourself. In the past, I used to do my own weight cuts and refeeds (cough, cough) power-lifting style. I will never forget during one meet prep where I cut down to 165# and I ate 2 burritos the night before weighing in the next day.  I made weight!! But my performance wasn’t necessarily great, and my body composition was very different to where I’m at now at a heavier weight.

SO back to my “refeed.” Upon letting my coach Edna know exactly what I had my brown eyes set on for a refeed, she shot it down faster than a…OK,  I can’t think of anything clever, but she vetoed it and it broke my fat kid heart,💔 and it made me cry for like 5 seconds.

What did my heart desire? I had my eyes set on “The Hangover burger” from Crazy Burger in North Park. I had it right in my rear-view mirror and I was abso-fucking-lutely excited about eating it.😃🍔 So close,  yet so far.  So what was the problem? The problem was it had way too many fats, and my refeed was to add in carbs, not fats.

So after a little inner wailing I centered my chi and discussed what I was craving, and of course, it was pizza.😃🍕🍕 And this is where I played myself. Yeah, this ain’t no powerlifter refeed. This is a bodybuilder refeed and my extra macro allowance would be in the form of carbs. All my other macros,  protein and fats stayed the same, and now I had to make my pizza fit the macros.

Now the conundrum: To buyout in town or make my own? I chose to make my own because I wanted to know the exact measurements of what was going in and to remove the anxiety of wondering whether the pizza man put in exactly what I asked for. I’m going out on a limb and say you are probably thinking: just eat the damn pizza woman. Um no. This is what separates those that want to make it the finish line bringing their very best.

In the end, it was a basic AF pizza and it did just what I wanted. I tasted pizza sauce and I ate a butt load of carbs and some cheese. I had 258g of carbs to be exact, and my only regret was not planning it with precision. Lesson learned and next time I’ll plan it out with absolute attention to motherfucking detail. I love to eat, and it better be up to par and worth my damn macros. I fucked up and consumed most of my fats in the morning, so it wasn’t as delicious as it could have been. Competitor Elaine was like: OK, it is done (I self-talk a lot.). Fat kid, Elaine was like: WTF is this mickey mouse shit!??

The thing is, this is your refeed and you don’t waste that shit! Someone asked for a photo,  and frankly, I was so looking forward to my basic AF pizza that I wolfed the sucker down and I didn’t bother to snap photos. Most of my delicious picture worthy foods have never been captured. Their glorious images are forever imprinted in my mind, and eating them was more important than posting for the gram. This basic AF pizza though was not notable, or worthy. Just a refeed lesson and a reset for my body

De-load 😍.: Hey there you son of a bitch. Yessssss! And of course, this isn’t a power-lifter de-load Elaine. This is a bodybuilder de-load. My coach explained that I would still be lifting light,  but I would have extra cardio days programmed to keep me burning the same amount of calories as a regular training week.

But…but…but. I’m not going to lie I was seriously looking forward to doing absolutely nothing gym related whatsoever. It took me having to look at my vision board hanging in my kitchen and my macro spreadsheet to give me a boost.

Vision boards are super helpful. Keeps you in check.😎

I started on June 1st and I have come this far.  No way I’m falling off now because I’m tired.  Is it always peaches and cream? Of course not. I choose to filter my mind and thoughts and I keep a little sage advice my pops gave me when I enlisted in the Navy. The conversation I had that day with my pops I have carried with me in everything that I do, and apply it when I feel like I might be dipping in motivation.

He said to me, “Sí tú crees qué tienes los cahones a enscribirte en la Navy. No vayas a llorar qué quieres regresar a la casa. You finish what you start.”

Translation: “If you think you have the balls to enlist in the Navy, I don’t want to hear you cry that you want to come back home.  You finish what you start.”

And so finish I will.

**no longer active duty, but I appreciate the life lessons and discipline the service gave me.**

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…

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BW on the left 130# and grossly undereating. BW on the right 185.2# and enjoying the process of body composition changes. 

Serious post discussion this week and a bit of a confessional. As someone who has dealt with body image issues, and who has been at the cusp of EDD territory, this is one of the fears I had diving into bodybuilding. Will I go back to bad habits?? I know I am not the only one that has had a weird relationship with food. It may sound trivial to some, and if this is the case, obviously this post isn’t relatable. This is for individuals that have purposely starved themselves, or who have eaten their feelings away. I have done those things and it has taken me time to face the why and to keep those feelings at bay.

So let’s talk about the woman on the left. This was over a year and some change after having my daughter Luzy. Now, after having her, losing the baby weight wasn’t easy and it took for me to see a photo of myself to set off a light bulb. I had an AHA moment and said to myself, HOLY SHIT. Luzy is one and I’m overweight. WTF are you doing Elaine? So I came up with a plan and I got started on getting healthier and active.

The pounds came off quick, and so, began my journey to getting fit. My main goal was to hit 130# and I don’t know why I settled on that number, but I just did. I reached it, now what?? Well I was grossly under eating and I was probably averaging around 1200 cals a day, and training 5xs a week. My main sport of choice back then was running, and I loved it, but I wasn’t taking good care of body.

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I was weighing myself everyday and I had to weigh 130#. Even though I had a flat stomach and I had a four pack, I would look in the mirror and I thought I was fat. Body dysmorphia?? I can’t officially say yes I had it because I was never officially diagnosed with it. Every time I’d go to the doctor, they never raised a flag about my body weight. The only thing they would note was that my blood pressure was freakishly low and they’d have to retake it a couple of times. The corps man would ask if I was active and I’d say yes and we’d move along. However, low blood pressure is common amongst active individuals, and I was one hell of an active individual.

Now growing up I wasn’t the flaquita of the bunch and I have been a yo-yoer my whole life. My nickname growing up was gordita, and if you have any experience with Mexican families, you know that a Mexican mom, tia, tio or prima, you name it, will be brutally honest. Oh, you’ve gained a few pounds since you last saw your abuelita?? You better brace your damn self because everyone will make note of it and talk about it to your face.

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Pretty accurate. 

“Mi’ja te miras mas gordita?”  Everyone laughs and starts pinching your cheek, and at the same time, start asking if you are hungry, or start serving you a plate of food. Us Mexicans show love by serving you food, cooking for you and just about anything involves FOOD. And if you don’t clean your plate, you will most likely hear the sad tales from your mom or dad’s childhood for having only frijoles y weenies for breakfast, and weenies and frijoles for lunch and dinner. FINISH YOUR PLATE, you spoiled pocho.

Although well-intentioned my family was on making sure we ate as kids, our reality was that we weren’t starving as they were living in Mexico. Now don’t get me wrong, we weren’t rich, and weren’t middle-class. We were American poor but I have no complaints about my childhood. My parents made sure we had enough, and we had hot water, running water and locks on our doors. But forcing your kids to finish their plates develops bad habits and I developed bad habits unbeknowest to my parents.

Then came the time I didn’t want to be la gordita anymore. I was 13 and I was going into the 8th grade and I didn’t want to be overweight anymore. So I started a bread and water diet, and was essentially starving myself to be thin. I limited myself to eating only one slice of bread a day, and water was the only thing I could drink, and I added in exercise. My parents were busy individuals and they worked a lot so they didn’t notice what I was doing. My abuelita on the other hand noticed and started asking questions.

 

“Nena, no has comido?? Por que??” and she would start waving her finger at me and tell me to eat. I of course would lie and say I ate and locked myself up in my room to avoid any more questions. Typical teen stuff. I don’t know what made me stop, but I remember being super excited to go back to school shopping and fitting into a size 8 jeans. I was 13 years old going through puberty and was no longer la gordita.

Now rewind a bit, I won’t make this a long narrative, but just to give some background.

What led me to be overweight as a kid? I used to emotionally eat as a kid, and my mom used take me out in secrecy to eat with her. She had her own issues with food, and as I look back, I don’t blame her. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms–some folks drink, abuse drugs, some workout and others channel their emotional energies some way, some how. Some positive and some negative. So my problems with food started early on in my childhood and the main culprit was a lack of education and not knowing how to cope with certain things.

Fast forward to today, when I get emotional, I want to eat my feelings away. Fudge. Early on before I started this new venture, if I had a bag of chips or some ice cream in my house and if I got upset I’d eat the whole damn thing. So no junk food was allowed once I started my cut! Haha but that was before I started getting to the root of the problem, and really addressed what was going on. Out of sight, out of mind is not the solution!!

What exactly did I do? As of right, now there is a nice bag of Lays’ Limon chips sitting in my cupboard and a nice celebratory ice cream cake we bought for our son, sitting in my freezer, and I have no urge or desire to eat any of it. I did a self assessment to see why I had emotional hunger triggers, and I’d ask myself why. All these things may sound absolutely insane and trivial, but if you’ve never suffered from some form of disordered eating, you wouldn’t understand. Self talks are important and that is what helped me. Hell, I do self talks every time I go for a PR, and this is no different. I have an off and on switch when it comes to things. As a matter of fact I used to smoke cigarettes, and one day I decided to quit. I quit smoking in 2001 (I started smoking when I was 15, and mom I’m sorry if you are reading this 😣), and I’ve had one emotional cigarette back in 2011.

Let’s talk about the woman on the right. I give absolutely no fucks about what anyone says about my body or what I am doing. I am unapologetically happy in my skin and I’m enjoying this new chapter in my life, and I’m looking forward to crossing this off my list. If I can go back in time, I wouldn’t just say to the young me to love myself. That doesn’t get to the root of the problem. I’d tell the young me to make healthier choices and that storms don’t last forever, and to be confident. Overall, this bodybuilding phase has had a positive impact for my family. Everyone is making healthier choices, and in the end that is what matters. Obesity and diabetus runs in my family, and the last thing I want is for one of my babies to suffer from them.

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I unknowingly placed the watermelon in the perfect spot. Not once did I think about the reflection of my whoohaw. 

Now every time I step on the scale, I still can’t believe what I see in the mirror is what reads on the scale. Why? Well I weighed 174# when I gave birth to my 2nd baby. Hahaha holy moly. This is something I tell everyone when they get hung on numbers. Muscle weighs more than fat, and since I am prepping for the stage, weighing myself is essential to track my progress. As much as people try to say the scale doesn’t matter, it does in some instances. For example, in strongman, there are different weight-classes, and uh, good lawd, weight-classes matter in the fact the competition weights will be drastically different between lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight.

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A smaller belt calls for a fit girl moment. 

I use the scale as a gauge, but not a tell all, and I removed the anxiousness that I used to feel when I’d step on it. Again these dumb things go back to the skinny woman on the left and the kid who didn’t want to be la gordita anymore. I remind myself that the scale doesn’t take into account other external factors–shark week, stress, poopless morning etc, and most of all doesn’t define me.

My weight fluctuates depending on what I eat from day to day. One of the main reasons I couldn’t use a lever belt and I would rather stick to a prong belt. Which, I am very much looking forward to buying a fancy belt after I am done with this prep #OmgBecky!!! You damn skippy #FitGirlNena is buying a celebratory fancy belt after this and I’ll invest in a custom singlet too because why the fuck not?

 

 

Brace Yourself, Changes Are Coming

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Left photo Aug 18th WT 190.2#, Right photo July 13th WT 194#. I’m Currently sitting at 186.2#.

Bulking, and cutting. So simple right? Eat more, or eat less end of story. WRONG. Besides watching your pansa inflate, or deflate, it involves having to get your mind right, and having to buy new powerlifting gear–SBD sleeves, and a belt because you need them. And yes I need them (constant running injuries and giving birth has messed a few things up).

As a powerlifter, it has taken me months of mental preparation for this. I started conditioning my mind to get ready for this figure prep back in May. It may sound dramatic, but if you want to be successful, you need to have a game plan, and mentally prepare yourself in order to be successful. A little truth nugget my coach shared with me is, she can give me all the tools to be successful, but ultimately it is up to me to use them to be successful. If my mind ain’t right, then nothing will go right.

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My coach Edna, she’s pretty rad and a pretty strong woman.

NOW, I am in no way successful at this, but I am happy to have made it this far. I gave myself a small pat on the back, and said we aren’t done yet, so don’t count your chickens, and get to work. SUCCESS in this phase of my training is making it onto the stage, but overall successful: Nope. Be hungry and never satisfied, and I am already thinking of the switch to powerlifting. Haha Bench only…just kidding 😅. 

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SBD sleeve struggle is real. These sleeves are not new and have been through 3 meets, size Medium.

Bulking. FUCK. As a woman, any small tip in the scale, any small bloat and sweet baby jesus you feel it. Pants will fit snug, and you’ll feel hefferish and your double chin will be flapping in the wind and your gut will pop all ways out of your belt. Mine did and I felt like a bloat fish, and it was getting to me.

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Maybe it’ll fit my other leg…OK add sleeves to the list of things to buy. Time for size Large.

I’ll tell you right now, I was super uncomfortable as hell putting on mass. NONE, I REPEAT, none of my pants fit, and I wanted to stop what I was doing and abandon ship.  I have been living out of my stretchy pants like Nacho Libre since the summer, but I told myself I am seeing this through, and to quit crying. But I will confess, it did bother me a teeny tiny bit when my kids asked if I was pregnant 🙄. AYYYYY no comment on that, but it was mentally bothersome 🤐. They’ll be sorry come xmas time though. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I have an evil tradition in my house: Scary doll collecting.

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Now it was bothersome because my clothes didn’t fit, and well, even my stretchy pants were on their last thread of stretchiness. And as a competitor my lifts don’t add up to my size. Again, the mental aspect of lifting. Elaine, that does not matter. Move on.

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1st world problems Elaine.

Why not buy some pants stupid! Nah.  I refuse to buy new clothes because it’s pointless to invest in a new wardrobe. BUT I did have to buy new bras and sports bras–BOOB gainz. There’s just no way around squeezing into a bra unless you plan on not breathing, and well breathing is important…especially during cardio. Anywho, once again, mental mind fuck having a closet full of clothes you can’t wear. But I don’t go anywhere anyways. My life consists of spending time with my familia and the gym.  Also I had to make a choice between investing in a belt and sleeves, or clothes. And well there’s no question about what is importanter: tools for gainz.

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Hey Girlssss! Hey 🙂

The plus side of bulking is growing boobs IMO 😃. I got my boobs back y’all! I haven’t had boobs since before I had my babies, and I’m boobstatic. After babies and breastfeeding, nothing has been the same 😒 ( o )( o ). SO yeah I am celebrating!! I grew a nice set of tatas without having to go under the knife, which, I am not going to lie it has crossed my mind, but I can’t bring myself to lose time under the bar for recovery.

But like all good things, they must come to an end. With each passing week, I am going down .5 to 1 lb, and this week I have noticed that I am filling out my sports bras less. Fit girls pay the boob price, and it is inevitable. Am I sad? Of course, but in a comical way. I have already accepted the fact that I will be going back to a “B” cup size. I hope 🤔, but it is all part of the fit struggle, and I have a box full of old bras in storage on standby #womanStruggles.

Cutting. Hmm one thing that concerns me, besides losing strength, is the possibility of having excess skin. At my lowest body weight, I weighed 130# and wore a size 6 pants, and I had a little bit of “loose” skin. However, it was nothing noticeable to others, just me. How small am I going to get on this figure prep? I am not sure, but that fear looms in the back of mind. Stretch marks? Yeah I got those. I’ve had three babies and my weight for all my pregnancies were: 1st baby 230#, 2nd baby 174#, 3rd baby 250#. Now, maybe someday I will share the life changing photo that put my rear in gear to lose the baby weight, but I am not ready for that just yet. All of this just serves as a reminder that this body is no stranger to changes.

Low bar squatter here 🙋. 170# For 4 doubles, and the heaviest I’ve gone post injury. Still lifting heavyish while on prep #powerbuilder

Losing strength. Hmmm as of right now, my strength has been holding steady, and as a powerlifter, the very idea of my weight dropping 1 pound would set my world in complete chaos. My strength, OMG my strength!!!! No!! oh my God, I am getting weak!!! HALP! 😲 I’m not exaggerating, that was how my ass would stress about it. However,  I set myself up for failure in the past. Besides not using iifym to my advantage, and not cutting properly, I mentally set myself up for failure. If you keep thinking and telling yourself that something will go wrong, then yeah, it will go wrong. And as I am on this path, I don’t see why both strength and aesthetics cannot coexist. TBC on that one as the macros keep dipping ⬇, and the heavy lifting continues.

An old coach once said to me, that if you want to hit a lift, you have to fight for it. Each and every day you come in to lift, you better fight for those reps. And so I did. I came in every day fighting for those numbers and sure enough, a couple of weeks later I hit a front squat PR. I always let my fear of not progressing mind fuck me. Mindset y’all. Mindset is key, and if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? So the same applies in cutting weight, and if your strength does dip down, keep in mind that you’ll get it back and some, and that it is part of the process. I’m ready for that day when it comes.

 

 

Qué Chingados??

 

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First heavy deadlift since my April 2017 powerlifting meet. 220# on a stiff bar.

This week has been an awesome training week for me. I was able to hit my prescribed weights (they are getting heavier), I did my cardio and in the process I didn’t feel like I was dying or wanting to murder anyone. What changed? My coach made me a menu to give me structure and a general idea on how to eat, and I took my meals with me on the road. Nutrition and performance go hand in hand.  I’m running on lower calories, and with my coaches menu, I wasn’t dragging my nalgas in the gym, and just in case you are wondering, I am on a 6 day split with a very much-needed day off. I am still powerlifting, and lifting heavy (relative to my 1RMs), and I have accessories following my main lifts. I have two days of cardio programmed and BOOM! A power-builder program paired up with a nutrition program to cut weight, and violà! Figure prep.  I’m down exactly 3 lbs in one week since I did her menu with no dip in strength levels #MacroSorcery. My power-belly is slowly shrinking and I’m seeing veins I hadn’t seen before #gainz.

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At my heaviest during the beginning of prep I weighed 194#, and right now I’m currently sitting at 187# in this photo.

REWIND: So I am the kind of person that likes to be in control, but this is one of those instances where being a strong and independent woman can go wrong. In the beginning, my coach gave me my macros and I had free range to plan out my meals. I mean it is pretty basic right? Just divide my macros and start piecing things together. Easy peasy! WRONG! In order to feel like you are not dying and to optimize your performance in the gym, you better get smart with your macros and plan out your meals. Take them with you if you have to. I’ve made the mistake of not carrying them with me and REDRUM circled my mind until I ate. Haha, like that one time I went and got my hair did and I wanted to die on the chair because I didn’t pack my lunch #hangry. You don’t want to be around hangry Elaine. (Cough, cough I once snapped at a fellow lifter over music. Ravelo, if you are reading this, I am sorry man lmao)

So in came my coach to the rescue, and she requested a sample of what I was eating and, well yeah, man was I doing it all wrong. I wasn’t pairing my fats smartly and I didn’t choose the right ones. I cut out whole eggs, and relied on nut butters as my main source of fats. Bread? Nah, cut that out too, and I opted for Ezekiel bread if I craved it, and I relied on oats and white rice as my main carb source. I mean, I’m suppose to trim down right? Avoid bread like the plague and eat a bro life type diet right? WRONG! Elaine, you know nothing.  We chatted and she devised a menu for me and added in: Whole eggs, toast, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, greek yogurt, powdered peanut butter, turkey bacon (Columbus brand), chicken, lemon pepper tuna, white rice and Vanilla Power Crunch bars, and Bitchin’ Sauce. Any diet that allows Bitchin’ Sauce is good in my book. Also those fucking bars give me life! I like pairing them up with some black cafecito 🖤☕.

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A sample of one day’s worth of meals. Not pictured is my Bitchin’ Sauce and if you’ve never tried it, GO NOW.

Anywho, I am not a nutrition expert, and I don’t profess to be, but as she sent me the break down of the macros per meal, a little light bulb went off and an AHA moment hit me. The pairing of the fats! And the variety of carb sources. I now have a general idea on how to structure my meals. Am I carb cycling? HELL no! And thank you baby Jesus I’m not. I’ve carb cycled as a runner and good lord, it is torture. Haha, no thanks! When my coach told me prep isn’t hard, I was a bit skeptical. I mean I have been living the bulk life for quite some time, and I expected to be living a life of a recluse, eating salads, chicken and rice and pumping ten pound dumbbells because my gains will diminish. I’m not close to the true test of my will, so this will be a TBC situation, and I will keep it 100, on my personal experience as I get closer to my target date.

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The one magical thing that works in changing your body composition: Don’t put that shit in your mouth 💁 (I’m very Gunnery Sergeant Hartman when it comes to training and nutrition).

Confession: Now, with any kind of lifestyle change, there is going to be a period of withdrawal, and you will go cold turkey and miss certain foods. I don’t know why, but when you know you can’t have something, the desire to have it multiplies, and it never fails–🍕cold pizza, 🍕hot pizza, 🍕pizza with Tapatio, 🍕pizza with pineapples🍍😃 (side note, I haven’t had cold pizza since early 2000). However, the key to staying the course is reminding yourself why you started. For me, the drive to succeed supersedes my need to go out every Tuesday for tacos, or to eat a nice big bowl of Doritos with lime on Sundays while watching GOT. And in my case I don’t go out just for some tacos. I GO FOR ALL the tacos 🌮🌮🌮.

In case you don’t know who Gunny is…we can’t be friends if you don’t.

Does that mean I won’t go out with friends, or family and avoid social functions? NOPE. I’ll still go, only I’ll be carrying my Tupperware, or ask for weights of food (Don’t judge me, I did this already lmao). I’ve reached that point in focus where I can be in social situations and not feel the need to pick at food. I have laser-type focus when I set my mind to do things, and I credit my time in service for that. While in bootcamp, our RDC didn’t allow us to hit the donuts, or the soda machine, so restricted eating is nothing new to me (yup junk food in boot camp. WTF? That’ll be a story for another post.). No recluse here, just being picky while on prep. It gives me piece of mind not straying away from my plan.

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Burrito harder than me. This is the Super Burrito I got a Los Tres Hermanos in el Valle after California’s Strongest Man in March 2015.

Now, I have been living the bulk life since 2014, and I used the excuse of lifting heavy to eat like an asshole. There’s no other way to put it. I was eating like an asshole. Oh, heavy squats today? I deserve this delicious chocolate chip cookie. Oh, heavy deadlift day? I can have this chocolate glazed doughnut(s). And before you know it, it was burritos day because strongman events day (plural cause I’ve eaten two Cali burritos in one sitting). All wrong. But Elaine you can use “iifym!” I’ll tell you the same thing my coach said to me, “Just because it fits your macros, doesn’t mean it should fit your macros.”

I’ll admit, I had no clue how to use iifym correctly. I’m learning now thanks to my coach.

Currently I’m on prep, so I am strict with what I am eating, and if I wasn’t on prep I’d be flexible. No biggie, and no need to be militant about how I’m eating. However, I want to optimize my performance in the gym and make body composition changes at the same time, so following a true “iifym diet” is essential to seeing this prep through, and foremost keeps me grounded. After bodybuilding, whether I choose to pursue it or not, it has changed my perspective on how I will prep for powerlifting meets. I’ll lower my assholeness a few notches 🙂 .

 

 

A Promise is a Promise

Bodybuilding? OMG

First things first: who the hell am I and what brought me here? I’m a novice Powerlifter that is currently taking a break from stepping on the platform, to get ready to step on a Bodybuilding stage for a Figure competition. If you know me in person, you know that Figure is the complete polar opposite of who I am and how I train. I love to lift heavy weights and eat all the foods.

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1st week at Convoy Strength. Screenshot model level 1,000.

On Taco Tuesday, I can happily wolf down 10 tacos with all the hot sauce, and lift all the weights in my vans and beanies, and I can give two shits if I have a power-belly. I love myself in all its thick glory and I love my extra junk in the trunk. I lift for strength, and the extra goodies that come with lifting heavy are of course embraced–nalgas (glutes) and thick thighs. HELLLOOO.

 

SO Bodybuilding? How in the hell did I find myself doing Bodybuilding??? Before I dive into that, I am going to forewarn you. I have a potty mouth, I’m sarcastic, but I can get down like an intelligent geek that possesses a robust vocabulary, discuss literature and my love for prose and poetry m’kay. This is my judgment-free zone!

Edna and me at the MAS Wrestling Tournament, LA Fit Expo 2017

Story time now. So back in January at the LA Fit Expo this year I asked my friend, Edna, to do a MAS Wrestling tournament with me. There were not many female athletes participating so I said, “Why the fuck not! Let’s GO!” I’ve always wanted to do a tournament, and here’s my chance. Edna agreed to enter the tournament if I promised to do a Bodybuilding show after our Powerlifting meet.  I was pumped and wired and said DEAL, so we both signed up and met with Odd Haugen. We both did the thing, wrestled, I got my ass kicked and Edna my bodybuilding friend did exceptionally well. AND SO, a promise was made that day that after our powerlifting meet, I’d start prepping for a Bodybuilding show.

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Edna and myself at the LA Fit Expo dead after MAS. Seriously DEAD.

I started to prep the first of June 2017, and I have done quite the overhaul on my way of life. My eating, sleeping, and recovery habits have changed big time, and my overall perception of the sport has changed. If you would have told me I’d be Bodybuilding a year ago, I’d laugh at your face and say, “Yeah, right. Bikinis, heels, and tans?! Pssshh! Not me. Ain’t me.” I still don’t know if it’s me because I haven’t stepped foot on stage, however, I am coming to appreciate the work that goes into getting stage ready, and being a true PowerBuilder. Am I still Powerlifting? You bet your damn nalgas (butt) I am! I am still strong, and I’m just eating differently and I’m chasing a pump, and working on my overall athleticism. Which, in reality, that is no different from the work that goes into any strength sport. Be a better athlete has always been my mantra, and I’m doing just that. So here’s my blog–I’m not some cheesy fit chick. I’m just a strength athlete looking to get jacked and strong, and hopefully motivate others along the way. If I can do it, so can you.

 

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Jermaine, Edna, Nate and Lindsay Smalls, and I at the Drug Tested CA State Championships at Crossfit Coveted.