Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Show Recap, Part 2, and Where I Go From Here...

I got home from the gym yesterday to find my photo CD in my mailbox! WOW, that was FAST!!! Kudos to Frank Buono (show photographer)! I'll share some of those at the end of this post.

Kayla and I talked at length today about what to do next. We went over the feedback I received from the judges, we looked at the photos, we talked about goals and disappointments and things beyond our control. Then she went on to talk with her team, and I went home to talk to mine. And now, we have a plan.

I will not be doing the NPC show in a week and a half. I WILL be doing an NPC show in mid-November, followed (possibly) by an OCB show a week later. So what went into this decision? Well, my friends, pull up a chair and I'll tell you ;-)

First... I peaked about 2 weeks before the show. This was great, as I could mostly coast into peak week, but bad as my metabolism was on FIRE and just kept burning - burned through my muscle. The first week, I lost 3 lbs of muscle, and my body fat started to increase. Bummer.

Second... I'm short. No, really. I'm 5'2" and the Master's class is not divided into height groups - just age. I looked like a skinny midget standing up there with all those tall women. While the vast majority of them had (and I mean no disrespect) an abundance of cellulite on their bums and legs, because they were tall, they had long torsos and most had great shoulders. I'm short, short-torso'd, and though I've got good shoulders, the visual comparison didn't do me any favors.

Third... I fell down on my posing. Despite hours and hours of practicing, and the confidence I developed, when I stepped out on the stage, the nerves got me. Plus, right off the bat the first time out on stage the women were all crowding too close and before the judges had everyone spread out, I got jostled quite a bit which flustered me (remember, they were all a lot taller than me) and I instinctively drew in. My stance narrowed and my confidence wavered. Damn my inner shy girl.

Fourth... Judges feedback. There were two common themes in the feedback I got from the judges. A) I wasn't lean enough. One judge even suggested I needed to cut as much as 10 more pounds. From where?? Regardless, clearly they wanted a more lean & ripped look. I could have cut more water and maybe hit their mark, but it is what it is.  B) My posing was too relaxed and not confident enough. Yep. Can't argue with that.

So... our thoughts are that regardless of how we feel I should have placed, we'll take their comments and work accordingly. To combat the early peak, I'm going back into build mode - more food, heavier weights (and more double workout days), less cardio. Our goal is to keep me at 16% body fat for 5-6 weeks while adding 8-10 lbs of lean muscle. Then we'll begin cutting to take me down to around 12% bf, while working to keep as much of that muscle as possible. One thing we're adding to my supplement routine is Creatine. I know a lot of women fear using it because it increases body water (it pulls water into the muscles), but what do I care about some water weight? We're just going to cut it later anyway.

Next up - addressing my height. The only way to make me look as muscular as the judges want, while standing next to amazons, is to build up my shoulders, quads and glutes. As Kayla said, "We're gonna make you bumpy". Lol. This is the aspect that kinda bothers both of us, as we really like my body where it is right now. If you stood me up next to other women my height, I'd look fantastic. Unfortunately, you can't pick your fellow competitors ;-) Building bigger shoulders and bigger glutes & quads will make my waist look smaller, my V-taper more pronounced, and hopefully make my torso look longer. I'm really petite, so in this instance, it worked against me.

Third... my posing. For whatever reason (refer to #3 above), I hunched in, instead of standing up and out. @#$# happens, and it happens on stage. I got jostled. Again, it happens. I wasn't mentally prepared for it, but next time I will be. My space. I will protect my space, stake out my territory, and own it. I cannot stand that I let myself be pushed back physically and mentally. Definitely more growing needed. So, I'll practice my posing - harder, tighter, and more "there". And I'll work on my confidence. Next time it won't matter how tall or big they are, I'll hold my own.

And finally... that "ripped" look. I had some issues with water, and my posing didn't help. I looked soft, and it was my own darn fault. My booty had no definition (and it does, it really does!) because I wasn't posing it right. My shoulders stayed low, instead of hiking up (which would have made my shoulders look as big as they are). I hunched in, and my legs were bent when they should have been straight and hard. One change we'll make to my next peak week is that I'll cut water for 5-6 days instead of 3. I think we'll also probably have me lifting weight right through peak week instead of taking so many days off (I still did tons of cardio and dry sauna, just no weights).

Nutritionally, my intake is higher now, and we'll bump up 200 calories again in a couple days, then again once or twice. I'm carb cycling on a 2-day a week pattern (so instead of one carb day, I have two). We're also reintroducing some foods, slowly and carefully, to see if I can broaden my diet a bit. First up is chicken. ;-)

Exercise... I'm training with Kayla weights 3 days, Pilates 1 day, then on my own. I have one rest day, and my cardio goes down to once a day-4 days a week, sauna 2 days. The days I lift with her, I'll do a mini lift session again in the evening before cardio. Legs, we'll kill twice a week. Bringing the boom! ;-)

That's the plan! NPC Western Regional November 15 & 16, then the OCB Valley of the Sun November 22. After that, I'll take the holidays OFF ;-) My off-season goal weight is around 130 lbs and 16-18% body fat. This will allow me to re-enter show prep in the spring (or any time) with about an 8 week prep, if I so desire. How long will I compete? I'm really not sure. I just know that I won't go down like this. When I finish competing, I want to go out strong and proud, which I don't feel after this last show. I feel like, in a lot of ways, I defeated myself. Whether I place or not, I want to finish knowing that I killed it! As subjective as the judging can be, I want to know that I brought it, I showed it, and I owned it. That's my goal.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband and family who are 100% behind and beside me, encouraging me to continue; and I have an incredible, brilliant, dedicated coach working hard to help me travel this road and maintain my health. AND... I have you guys. Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me, motivating me. I appreciate you!

Now... I'm off to the gym for cardio ;-) then tonight I get to relax with my family. Ahhhhh! ;-)

Here's some pics from the show...

So Proud of My Hubby! Inc. 500!!!!!

I just couldn't wait to share this, and now that the magazine is finally available in the stores, I can!! My husband's company made the Inc. 500 list of America's fastest growing private companies! Wooohoo!!! How freaking cool is that????

They made #359 on the list! They're #11 in American Construction Companies, #9 in Arizona, and #9 in the Phoenix Metro Area! KUDOS!!!
Several years ago, my hubby began FlexGround - a safety surfacing company - with 3 partners... his Dad, Greg Hague, and Corey Hague (Greg's son). Two father-son teams - that alone is cool! They took it from nothing to SOMETHING in a few short years! In fact, over the last 3 years, the company has grown 1,322.2%  Mind boggling!

Bill and Corey are the front-men, who've dedicated countless hours, blood, sweat (and maybe a few tears, lol) to building FlexGround into what it is today - and what they've planned for it to be in the future.

I'm so incredibly proud of Bill. I see every day how hard he works, and I'm thrilled that Inc. 500 recognizes and applauds his success. The event I mentioned in a previous post, while I was prepping, was the celebration reception that FlexGround hosted to thank their Reps and Dealers for helping them grow. It was so fun! They even did a Dunk Tank! Ha! Bill and Corey each climbed in and let folks take shots at them - and yes, they got wet. Lol!


Corey and Bill - Incredible businessmen and good sport's!
Huge congratulations to Bill, Corey, Bill Sr., Greg and the whole FlexGround Team!! What an incredible accomplishment!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pack Your Bag! Competitor Show Day Bag... What You Need.

We all know that I'm a bit organized. Ok. REALLY organized. You wouldn't know that to look at my dining room table right now, but that aside, I rock the list. I make lists for everything... from family events to trips to, well, anything! Including Show Day. If it might possibly be needed, it's on the list... and in the bag. I know that some of you are training for your own first competition, and I wanted to share some tips and my packing list - maybe you'll find them handy.

If you're getting a spray tan, your first coat goes on the night before your show. You'll get prep instructions from the tan company, but here are a few more...
1. Lay towels or old sheets over your car seats. The tan gets EVERYWHERE.
2. Wrap a washcloth around the shoulder harness of your seat belt - clip it in place with an oversized paperclip. This helps protect your tan by padding the belt so it doesn't rub against your shoulder.
3. Wear oversized, dark, non-fleece, clothing that breathes well - like cotton. I bought a large, black long sleeve shirt with an open neckline (no drop sleeves, you want to keep skin separated from skin or you'll get rub marks in the tan). I cut off the ribbed cuffs of the shirt to prevent rubbing. My pants were an oversized pair of non-fleece cotton sweat pants with a wide waist band and no ankle cuffs (but those can be cut off, too, if needed). No underwear, no bra. Flip-flops that don't have a bunch of straps - just simple $1 thongs work fine. If you're in a cold area, bring a dark, oversized zip-up hoodie with you. Again, no cuffs on the sleeves and no fleece.
4. If you have light hair, bring a shower cap!! When you go in to tan, you'll strip, then put on your shower cap being careful to tuck in ALL your hair. This weekend, I missed a spot against my neck and ended up with a lovely bronze loch. ;-) The first time I competed, I didn't know to wear a cap and ended up struggling to wash the tan out of my hair without water hitting my skin after I got home. Not fun. When you're dry and dressed, just toss the cap, but remember to bring another one for tomorrow's final coat of tan.

Once you get home, or to your hotel, you'll want to throw down some old sheets and pillow cases on your bed (and any surface you sit on) to protect from tan rub-off.

For sleeping... I wore the same top I wore to tan, and an oversized pair of thin cotton pajamas. Again, no underwear, as it will create marks. Lay on your back, legs separated, arms slightly outstretched and straight. Any bending you do can cause creases and rub marks in the tan. It's not comfortable, and it won't be your best night sleep, but this is how you protect the tan. Remember... NO FLEECE. It may seem soft and comfy, but your tan will still be tacky and you'll end up with fuzz everywhere. And you can't fix that.

What to wear to the venue... Same stuff. I bought two of that top, one for the day before show, and one to wear to the show. You'll also want a zip up jacket - like a simple hoody. Zip up because you don't want to mess up your tan trying to get into and out of a regular sweatshirt. Pants, again simple oversized cotton with a wide waist band and no ankle cuffs. Baggie is your new style. No undies. Don't bother spending a lot of money on this stuff. Those tops were $5 each at Kohls on the clearance rack, the pants were $8. Seriously... go cheap, but look for minimal seams, wide open necklines, and either no cuffs or cuffs you can cut off. (see below for a link to my pinterest board where you can see the clothes and stuff I packed)

Now... back to the bag...

First... the bag itself. I use a roller suitcase, the size that can fit in an overhead bin on a plane. You can use whatever kind of bag you like, but keep in mind that the dressing room might be on the small side, and also... you're carrying your own stuff. Once the tan goes on, you can't carry anything on your shoulder - NO straps! So a bag that rolls is ideal. And, with the handle extended, it makes a great spot to carry your cooler - just loop the strap of the cooler over the handle of your bag and you're good to go.

Next up... what goes in it? I've got a list (yes, of course I do). And it's extensive.You may not need everything on the list, but sure as #@#$ if you leave it out, you're going to end up needing it, right? ;-) So here are a few photos of my bag - in layers...

And... here's the list:

You can download this list as a PDF here
  • Rolling Suitcase (you can’t carry anything with a strap on your shoulder, it’ll mess up the tan)
  • Federation card
  • Registration packet
  • Suit
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Bikini Bite Suit Fastener
  • PAM Original No Stick Cooking Oil Spray  Note: if you're having your spray tan done, the service often includes bikini bite (gluing your suit to your body) and spray oil (Pam, seriously, it's Pam cooking oil), but it's always wise to have your own, just in case there's a backup at the prep line. 
  • Shower cap (to protect hair when doing makeup and/or tan)Latex gloves (for your trainer, to use with tan and/or bikini bite)
  • Baby wipes
  • Ipod & earbuds
  • Phone / Camera
  • Electronics charger (I use this one )
  • Hair dryer/Flat Iron/Curling Iron
  • Extension cord
  • Make up / Hair Cape (or an old sheet)
  • Makeup, False lashes & glue
  • Makeup sponges
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Stand-up Mirror
  • Vaseline for teeth (you’ll be dehydrated and don’t want your lips sticking to your teeth when you smile on stage)
  • Hair spray
  • Comb / Brush
  • Bobby pins (if you have long hair)
  • Advil/aspirin
  • Visine
  • Small sewing kit with thread that matches your suit
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Wisps (toss-away toothbrushes)
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail glue
  • Resistance bands
  • Umbrella (if you’re in a rainy area. Check weather)
  • Body splash/mist (you can spray clothes you wait in, not your body or you risk turning your tan green)
  • Money
  • Business cards - optional
  • Pen/paper - optional

  • Water bottles with squirt tops (so you don't accidentally douse yourself when you try to take a sip of water)
  • Food/supplements (my cooler included seed bars, salted seeds, grapes, watermelon, protein shake, hard boiled eggs, coconut water and water)
  • Food utensils


  • Change of clothes – loose & comfy clothing 
  • Underwear
  • Deodorant
  • Body Spray
I hope this list has been helpful! 

Check out my Pinterest boards....

Follow Chelle Stafford's board Figure Competition Packing on Pinterest. Follow Chelle Stafford's board Figure Competition on Pinterest.
Follow Chelle Stafford's board Competition Diet Recipes on Pinterest. Follow Recipe For Fitness's board Workout and Cardio Playlists on Pinterest.

Show Recap, Part 1

You probably already know (FB and other social media), but the show didn't go as I'd hoped. To put it bluntly, I crashed and burned. Bottom of my class in both divisions. You know those old vaudeville skits where they use a hook to pull someone from stage? Yeah.  It was that bad.

But... let me start from the beginning.

Thursday, Shiloh and I drove to the host hotel for registration and polygraph. As feared, I did giggle. But the tech was very kind and we just rolled with it. They ask several 'baseline' questions, then get to the meat... "have you taken blah-blah-blah in the last seven years?" "Have you taken Clenbuterol?" "Have you taken a prescription diuretic?" Of course all my answers were NO, so I passed with flying colors (and giggles, mustn't forget the giggles).

I got my athletes packet, my number, and paid for my photo CD, then headed home.

Friday, I began the day by taking pics.

I checked into the hotel, shaved, exfoliated, dressed in my loose black clothes (sans deodorant) then went down to get my first coat of spray tan. I'd forgotten just how dark that is! LOL! They've come a long way with the scent of that spray on stuff, but still... stanky.  Shiloh and I hung out, then Bill joined us and we had dinner. Dinner was an experiment we were trying to sodium and carb load.
In-n-Out - no bun, no cheese, lots of salt on the fries. It was definitely tasty. Up until 4pm, I'd been on my usual no-carb and low-water diet, then at 4 I started my fruit, at 7 was dinner, then we watched a movie and crashed.

Saturday morning I began my pre-arranged food/liquid plan, and got ready. I did my hair and base makeup at the hotel, then packed up and headed to the venue for coat 2 of the tan. Kayla met me there and did my makeup (which was AWESOME!).

Isn't she gorgeous?? And she has the CUTEST baby bump!!
What you can't see behind me on the counter is my super-duper-competitor-suitcase. EVERYTHING I could possibly need is in that roller-case! From hair & makeup stuff to resistance bands for pumping up, eye drops, sewing kit, bikini bite, Pam, and more. I'll share more about the contents of the case in another post.

So, moving on. Morning show, we pumped up and stepped out on stage for judging. If you don't know already, the morning is "prejudging" and this is when pretty much all the decisions are made for placing. You go out with your class, do quarter turns (and turns and turns and turns, lol), then curtsy, wave, and exit the stage. The evening show is when you do your 60 second presentation - or T-Walk, and then awards are announced. Note: NPC doesn't do the 60 second routine in the Finals, just quarter turns as an individual (not in your group).

I was nervous. Let me rephrase, I was NERVOUS. I don't know why, but just as I stepped out, I got super fluttery. We lined up, there were 7 of us in the Master's 40+, and did our turns. They moved us around quite a bit, then dip, wave and go.

Can you see right away what's missing? Compare to my photo from the previous morning. My abs are MIA. Crap.

A bit later, more pumping up then back on stage for the Figure Open, Short Class. 5 of us in that one.

After the morning stuff, we headed home to rest until it was time to return. The show itself was run so incredibly smooth! The expediters (who, to all you who will compete for the first time - these guys are your best friends!) were amazing and kept things moving, fun, and energetic. I felt good about the morning and ready to hit it that night. At home, I put my feet up and promptly fell asleep, lol.
And then it was time to pack it back up and head to the show.
Chicken broth and Coffee in hand! Let's do this!
We had our athlete's meeting, got set up in the dressing room, prepped and waited to roll. Presentation walks were up first, then intermission, then awards. The song I chose was Courtesy Call by Thousand Foot Krutch.

After that, I got to stand backstage in the wings and watch the other competitors - there were some really amazing ones! FUN! Then it was time for awards. They gather the classes together backstage, then top 5 are called out onto the stage to receive their trophies. Figure Master's 40+ is called, and we stand together and wait.

One by one, my fellow competitors names were called. I cannot begin to express how crushing, and yes, humiliating, it was to be left backstage. I kept my head high, kept my smile big and bright, and congratulated the gals as they came back. I held on to my dignity by the skin of my teeth, lol. Then it was time to line up again for Figure Open. Well... there were only 5 of us to start with. I got 5th place.

After that, I was free to pack up and leave. And I did. Tail tucked firmly. I got in a good cry (or 2. Or 3), then pulled myself together. My family and Kayla were wonderful and helped me get refocused. Time to evaluate and adjust my course.

First, I had to accept my defeat and failure. 20 weeks of hard work and diet, with my family sacrificing so much to help make this happen, with Kayla giving so much of herself... and this was what I gave back. Damn. Ok - pity party over.

Second, It's not over. A couple things happened that night that turned this all around for me. Kayla had given me a card before the evening show - and I had to repair my makeup after I read it ;-)  I sat with my glass of red wine afterwards and read it again. One of the things she said was this, "You OWNED this goal and the work needed, and what you accomplished as of today is more TRUE than any ribbon will speak of for you."  The trophy, the placing - they don't define me. The journey defines me. And I rocked the journey. Even with self-doubt and fear rearing their heads, I know - I KNOW - I rocked the journey.

The other thing that happened was a conversation with my husband and Shiloh. Both were adamant that this was NOT going to be the end, that I would finish what I started and keep going. Both were fiercely proud of me and so supportive. They 'got' my pain, but pushed me forward. Bill said, "The only way you could disappoint me is if you gave up now." Seriously - how'd I get so lucky to have people like this in my life?

The next morning (slightly hung over, lol), I got online and read all the comments and posts you incredible people left for me. I was overwhelmed. And humbled. And encouraged. And motivated. I emailed the judges for feedback, two have already gotten back to me. I'll take their words and go over them, and the photos, with Kayla, and we'll replot the path.

Looking at the pics, I can identify several things that went awry... I refuse to pick apart my physique in a negative way, but I will objectively analyze it and note areas for improvement. It's not about not being happy with what I did with my body, it's about fine-tuning it to do well in my sport. And, this level of criticism is only for the sport - this isn't normal life. Once my competition season is over, I have a goal weight to reach and maintain that is healthy (for me, we're looking at around 130 lbs and 16-18% body fat).

So... a bit of distance between me and the initial disappointment and I have a better perspective. I had fun competing in this event. The athletes were all very nice and we had a great time chatting and doing our thing. I prepped hard and well, and earned the right to step on the stage. I have some tweaking to do, but I am proud of what I've done. They may have given me this trophy because they had to, lol, but damnit, I still earned it and I'm keeping it (my first impulse was to chuck it as far as I could, lol. Hey, just being honest.).

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Two days!!! Wooohoo!! So, where am I? I'm currently sitting in front of my computer (duh, lol) typing with my arms weirdly outstretched because they're coated in Calamine lotion. Joy. Dry, darnit, dry! And for the love of God, STOP ITCHING!!! Lol! Those darn hives are killin' me! The Nair burns caused enough trauma to my skin that I broke out in hives - on both arms. Ugh!! I am hoping and praying that I can get these down before my spray tan tomorrow!

This morning began with my regular Tilapia burger, then I slathered on calamine and headed to the gym for my hour of stairmaster then 15 minutes in hell, I mean the dry sauna. I was sipping (and I mean sipping) water, headed home to shower (oh thank the baby Jesus!) then head back out (shake & apple in hand) to do my final grocery trip. I hit the dog store for giant treats for our fur babies - they'll be alone off and on all day Saturday, so I got them giant bones and other yummies (I'm a sucker). Next was Whole Foods where I found this...
Yes. I bought many packages. ;-)
I also bought some easy snacks for show day. We're focusing on seeds, fruit, veggies, that kind of thing. I'll have my Tilapia burgers (easily digested protein - check!), my chicken broth, water, coconut water, protein shake, and then the snacks. I'm steering clear of anything that can potentially cause bloat, so the snackies are black grapes, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, green apple, blackberries, cucumber, raw pepper, and these...
They're tiny - and I mean tiny! But they're totally gluten free and have nothing I'm sensitive to. I know it sounds like a lot of food, but it's small portions for munching throughout the day. It'll be a busy day! I then hit up Albertson's for part II of the coup de grace! These are in my fridge - I'll decide which one I want when we get home saturday night ;-)
When Bill and I want to really splurge on wine, we reach for the Erath Pinot Noir on the top shelf. It's spectacularly smooth. The champagne you see is Wilson Creek's Almond Champagne and it's phenomenal! I do not like champagne. Call me weird, but it's just not my thing... that stuff, though, is incredible! So, I've got a bottle of each chilling so whatever I want, it'll be ready to go ;-)
And the biggie... Part I (yes, I know that was backwards but these were at Whole Foods, which was before Albertson's, but they're the one thing I'm REALLY excited about)...  Once the show is over. Once we're home. Or maybe in the car. Or maybe while I'm packing up my bag backstage... this comes out:

What's in the bag?
Just 4 little bites of HEAVEN!!!!
Those, my dear friends, are Tammie Coe Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. And they are mine. MINE MINE MINE. Actually, they've got gluten so I'll probably only have one. Probably. They're my absolute favorite cookie. I think the last time I had one was after my last show - three years ago. I had to put that bag in a large ziploc so that I can't smell them. Lol!

After I grabbed up that stuff, I also gathered supplies for another batch of Tilapia burgers I'll be making tonight after I get home from Cardio & Sauna. I leave in about 30 minutes to go to Registration and do my Polygraph test, then I'll head over to the gym, then home and cook, then crash. Going to be a long night, but we're almost there!!!!

Ok. Time for more Calamine. But before I go, I wanted to say...
THANK YOU!!!!!! 
Your continuous support and encouragement are SOOOO appreciated! I'm so grateful for you!!!