Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Power Shake

No matter how tight competition diet gets, there are two things that remain constant for me... caffeine (aka Black Coffee) and the ubiquitous protein shake. The shake is a staple in my diet, the caffeine, quite simply, just keeps me going. With Starbucks now selling their Unsweetened Iced Coffee in grocery stores... well, it's like a glass of heaven for me. My late afternoon pre-workout shake is now my favorite meal of the day. ;-) Here's how I make it...

Power Shake
serves 1

1 cup Starbucks Unsweetened Iced Coffee
1/4 cup Almond Milk, Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 cup ice
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (try Champion Performance Pure Whey Plus, Chocolate Brownie )
*1 scoop Champion Nutrition Creatine optional
*1 scoop greens powder, espresso optional
*1/2 cup diced fruit (ie strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)

Pour, Blend, Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Week Back Complete... Here's to being Transparent...

I shared with you how wonderful my time away was. I didn't share the parts that weren't - the parts that made me sad, lost, angry. I actually debated quite a bit over whether or not to open this up... would my experience and subsequent decisions inspire or impede someone reading this? I still don't know the answer, but finally decided to stay true to myself - to the promises I made when I first began sharing my journey all those years ago - to stay honest and transparent. So here goes...

As you know, I'm prepping for a figure competition November 14/15. The week I spent away was not a week off. You saw the photos of all the clean eats I packed up to take with us, I had an entire duffel filled with nothing but workout clothes, shoes, and resistance bands. The plan was to eat according to my diet, with only one treat meal, and to workout - once in the morning, and again in the evening with the addition of cardio. I was prepared. I was ready. Bill was ready. We both knew it wouldn't be easy, but he accepted that this is how it is. I'd checked and the first hotel had a fitness center, the second had one but charged extra (weird), so I paid it. Again - I was ready.

We began the trip, as I mentioned, a little rough, lol. We arrived in Durango just in time to grab our tickets for the train the next morning, then went and checked in at the hotel. We took a quick tour of the fitness center (tiny, but enough to get it done), then headed out for dinner. By the time we got back to our room, it was 10pm. I changed, kissed the hubby, and was out. I did my workout, did my cardio, and looked up at the clock to see that it was now 11:30pm - and we had to be up early the next day (I had to be up 1 hour earlier than early so I could workout again) ... and I asked myself, "what the hell are you doing??"

This was our first vacation alone... ever. Ever. And instead of being together, my husband was upstairs alone watching tv while I was downstairs in the gym. I decided that I'd skip the morning workout, just makeup for it in my evening one, and that'd give me some extra time with the hubby.

The next day, we had fun... long day, for sure, and again got back in town around 6:30pm. Walking around until we found a place for dinner where we could both eat, then finally back at the hotel. As I reached into my gym bag, I asked myself again, "what the hell are you doing???"  Here I am, first vacation with the hubby, and I'm about to leave him alone - again.

After a violent internal debate, I chose to skip the gym and cuddle with my husband.

The next morning, we packed up, and headed from Durango to Pagosa Springs. Food wasn't an issue during travel since I was so well prepared, so he had his kind of munchies, lol, and I had my greek yogurt, seed bars, nuts, perky jerky, etc. Travel food was the easiest part of the trip, just fyi. We explored town, then went to check in. Unpacking in our room, I realized I didn't know where the fitness center was, and really, really needed to spend some time there.

Back to the registration we went, where I was told that there is NOT a fitness center ON the property. They have an arrangement with a gym in town. All my plans of sneaking off to workout while Bill slept went poof! Are you kidding me? "Calm down," Bill said, "Maybe it's not far, we'll check". So we walked. And walked. Across a footbridge, down a street, across a street, up a back alley, then down a dark street. Bill took my arm and said, "No way you're coming here alone. I'll bring you and pick you up."

And that's when I broke.

My goals are mine. The sacrifices made for my goals should be mine. I understand the wear and tear on the family of a competitor, but there are limits! Or should be. This was completely out of balance. And my sweet, loving, supportive husband was paying a price he shouldn't have to. So I put a stop to it. I chose to stop. I chose to remove my focus from my competition prep and place it on my husband and our brief and rare time alone together. I decided to give my time and energy to the long term - to what matters most - my husband.

I still ate my foods, but I also chose to relax there, too... I had fresh beef and elk, I enjoyed the amazing ginger chocolate cookies from Pagosa Bakery, I had amazing shrimp, lots of veggies, and even an ice cream cone. Yep. And I savored each and every bite. I owned each bite. I knew that there would be consequences for taking the week "off" from prep, but for me the right decision was the one I made. I was so far out of balance that it hurt. It's ok for it to hurt me, but not for it to hurt my husband - who fyi, never once complained, but wow, the relief on his face when I told him I was taking the rest of the time off was humbling - and a bit heartbreaking.

And so the consequences... Tuesday was my first workout back - and we did my stats. Ouch. So we're back to hitting it hard and long, and we'll see what happens. I've got about another week or so of building, then cutting time. I don't know if I'll make it to the November show. Normally, that'd be ok, and I'd just do the Spring shows, but Kayla will be on maternity leave during that time, and I'm not finishing this journey without her. By this point, it's ours, not just mine.

Therefore... I'm pushing. Hard. I'm sore, pulled a hamstring (lol - of course I did!), and struggling to get it all done. But I will, and I'll willingly do what it takes, knowing that this is the cost of the time I took. And it's ok. I know in my heart I made the right decision at the time, and though it results in more work now, I accept that. I own it.

So... there you have it. The transparent view of my time away and the results.

Monday, September 15, 2014


We had such a wonderful vacation! Did I finally unwind and relax? Let's just use this little visual to answer that... See that bottle in my hand? It's Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee... 48 oz. That's 1.5 qt. of full throttle coffee goodness. In normal life, I drink 3/4 of a bottle. Every day. Yep.

That one I'm holding? Same bottle I brought with us - and as we packed up to leave for home, it was still half full.

So - yes, I slowed down and relaxed. LOL! It was wonderful! ;-) We had a really, really good vacation.  If you're on Facebook, you probably saw several shots along the way, so forgive me for reposting them here.

Our trip started out with a bit of a... detour. The day before we left was the infamous 100 Year Flood here AZ. Our backyard became an extension of the pool, lol. We were lucky. The photos on the news were at times seriously amusing (kids actually got out jetskis and rode them in the parks!) and at others, incredibly sad as there were a few people who lost their lives. Our highways flooded - some with more than 5 feet of water. But things dried out pretty quick, and by Tuesday morning we were loaded and ready to go.

Packing up the clean eats!
Well, this isn't what we had in mind. 
We'll just follow this car, it doesn't look too bad.
Still following...
Guess that wasn't such a great idea. Lol. FYI, this was NOT Officer Friendly.

Bill didn't want to go out through Flagstaff, so we went the other way. For awhile. After we received our ticket, we backtracked and eventually made it out of the wilderness we'd wandered into. And guess what? We went out through Flagstaff. Lol. We managed to add 2 extra hours to our trip. Oy!

The trip up was wonderful (other than the aforementioned) and we enjoyed watching the scenery change along the way. We arrived that evening in Durango at 6:25 pm - we had to pick up our train tickets for the next morning, and they close at 6:30. Whew! From there, it was officially vacation. We rode the Durango - Silverton train, had lunch at Grumpy's (fabulous), and I ended up napping on the ride back down the canyon, lol. The next day we headed into Pagosa Springs where we enjoyed the hot springs, shopping, trying out the restaurants, sitting by the fire, driving around, horseback riding, more walking than I've done in my life (lol)... it was a blast!

Usually by the end of a trip, I'm ready to go home - to get back to routine. This time? I'm ready to go back ;-) Here are some more pics of the trip's highlights...

Adventure time!

Checking in at our Durango Hotel

Gorgeous hotel lobby

View of the Animas River off our balcony

Bill and I both are well stocked ;-)

Packing up our snacks for the train ride

Absolutely beautiful trip! 

The car we rode in is the Silver Vista, it's got a glass roof
so you can see EVERYTHING! Awesome!!

All checked in at Pagosa Springs!

Stunning interior of our part of the hotel


Heading out to the hot springs!

Exploring! That's Treasure Falls behind us.

Yep! We crossed the Great Divide!

And stopped in Wolf Creek Pass for another selfie ;-)

And again in Durango (went back our last day).

As you can see, there was a lot of smiles on this trip. It was so good to relax and unwind. So good to have the time alone, together. And seriously, we're ready to go back. ;-)