It is often said that "Life Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone." My entire life has been spent in that safe, happy place causing me to miss out on so many opportunities. I can recall numerous times in my life when I wanted to do something and my shyness has held me back. A classic introvert, I never tried out for cheerleading or sports or theatre because I never wanted to put myself “out there.” Though the thought was always enticing, I just couldn’t get myself to do it.
At the age of thirty-five, after struggling with infertility for many years, I was given the gift of a beautiful little girl. She is my miracle baby. I see so much of me in her. And not just in appearance, but in her personality too. As children we possess a certain carefree quality that we tend to lose as adults. My daughter has always been carefree and never afraid to try new things – even though it scared her mother At the age of five she has already done gymnastics, soccer and dance and performed in her first Spring recital. Things her mother always dreamed of doing but never quite had the guts to attempt. So, one day when she said to me that she was afraid to do something because she was shy; it stopped me in my tracks.
As her mother, I want more for her and want her to know that she can always reach for the stars and achieve what she sets her mind to. I want her to continue to possess that carefree spirit and never have to worry about what someone else thinks of her. Until now, she has been setting an example for me…it was time for me to set an example for her. After all, how was I going to teach her if I didn’t practice what I preach?
So, I set out on a journey, outside of my comfort zone. I have always been passionate about health and fitness. Every month I would pick up the latest issue of Oxygen or Muscle and Fitness Hers and admire the women on the cover. I have always had the desire to give a fitness competition a try but never had it in me. I was just on the outskirts of a milestone birthday – about to turn forty – and while others were complaining about their aging bodies. I decided, “Why can’t I be fit at 40?”
A few months back I had decided to give a fitness network marketing opportunity a try. While it didn’t work out, I am grateful for it because it jumpstarted me on this path. In addition to the business aspect of network marketing, there is a huge push on personal development. Encouraged to read books like, “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson and “The Compound Effect“ by Darren Hardy, I was beginning to experience a newfound confidence in myself. Along the way, I was also reunited with an old friend from high school who was also involved in the business opportunity. She recommended another personal development book, “Motiv8nU” by Staci Boyer. In addition, to writing her book, Staci is also co-founder and coach, along with Sandy Wiedmeyer of Iron Diva Fitness , of Team FAB, a figure and fitness competition team. In fact, my friend from high school was part of the Team and competed in her very first shows in 2012. Inspired, I decided it was time for me to give it a shot as well.
I contacted Staci and after a few emails and an in-person meeting, I made the decision to join the team and set a date for my first competition. First thing on the agenda, send Staci some before pictures so we can track my progress. So I set-up the tripod and timer and took the pictures. I hooked the camera up to my computer to review the pictures and was a little dismayed; to say I was a bit embarrassed would be an understatement. How wass it possible that I had been working out five to six days a week and I looked like that? Well, the truth of the matter was, I hadn’t been.
Not bad for an amateur cake decorater, right?!!?
I had just come off of a long stint of cake baking and decorating for friends and family – along with a bunch of taste testing and sampling – for quality control purposes, of course – that I hadn’t been really working out or watching what I was eating. Intuitively I know that you can’t "outrun a bad diet" however I was convinced that I was the anomaly – but the proof was in the pictures. Doubt and fear began to cloud my mind. I can’t do this. What was I thinking? But I had already sent her payment for my contest prep plans, so there was no turning back. I cut my face out of the pictures and sent my before photos on their way.
From there I was sent my nutrition and training plan. Over the course of the next sixteen weeks, I worked the plan. Meal prep took place on Sundays and I would prepare my meals for the week, portion everything off in baggies or containers, freeze or refrigerate depending if it was for the beginning or end of the week. Training was six days a week and included heavy resistance training. Fridays were rest days and spent enjoying family time. Every Monday progress pictures were sent in. I remember the first few weeks being discouraged – little or no changes – but then the magic started to happen. Over the course of several weeks, I began to see the changes in the photos – waist whittling done, thighs getting slimmer, even my big Italian booty was getting smaller. But the transformation wasn’t just physical it was internal as well I went from cutting my face off the pictures to smiling and confident in the photos.
I can’t say enough about the Team as well. From the coaches to the teammates, the sense of camaraderie, the way everyone lifted each other up, the motivation and support; they believed in you even when you didn't believe in yourself. I am a better person because of them.
Somehow the sixteen weeks flew by and show day was here! I was up at the crack of dawn, careful not to wake anyone up, and headed out the door. The morning began with glam prep – tanning, make-up, hair, posing – nothing was left to chance. Then it was off to the show. Pre-judging was in the morning and then a few hours later in the evening it was time for the night show. During pre-judging, I stumbled and lost my footing. I felt discouraged and defeated and was ready to throw in the towel. And truthfully, the old me would have. But after a pep talk from my teammate, to whom I will be forever grateful and my coach, who has - from the beginning - been so supportive of me, I lifted myself up and came back strong for the night show. The day went by so fast – it really was a whirlwind experience. I competed in Jr. Masters and took home a second place trophy.
I got home late that night, well after my daughter had gone to bed. After getting myself washed off and dressed for bed, I curled up next to her in her bed and went to sleep. She woke in the middle of the night, opened her eyes, did a double-take, smiled and put her arm around me and fell back asleep. The next morning when she and I woke up, my husband brought the trophy upstairs. She could hardly contain herself. Her eyes wide open in amazement; she let out a shriek of excitement, “Yay!!! Mommy got a trophy.” That moment made everything worth it.
So, what’s next for me? I am not sure yet. Will I compete again? Maybe. Hopefully. But, first, it is time for me to get caught up on blogging. I have a backlog of reviews that I will be getting up. Thank you to everyone who has been waiting patiently for me to get your reviews up. They are coming. Stay tuned.
For more information on Team FAB, Motiv8nU or Iron Diva Fitness, visit:
Motiv8nU on the Web
Motiv8nU on the Instagram
Team FAB on the Web
Team FAB on Facebook
Iron Diva Fitness on the Web